Tina Chang confronts the complexities of raising a mixed-race child during an era of political upheaval in the United States. She ruminates on the relationship between her son’s blackness and his safety, exploring the dangers of childhood in a post–Trayvon Martin era and invoking racialized roles in fairy tales.
... one of the most important books of poetry to come along in years. In a tapestry of forms and modes, it chronicles a mother's harrowing and courageous passage through a psychic gauntlet ... With equal parts hope and terror, and no self-delusion, this book summons the kind of love only the imagination can sustain.
Tina Chang is the poet laureate of Brooklyn and, based on the content of her collection Hybrida, the title is well-deserved ... searing, often devastating ... Chang is never content to create a hundred stanzas out of a single idea. The book is a weaving of a hundred threads and motifs into a tapestry of poetic form. The poems here are restlessly, dizzyingly creative: they range from prose poetry to ekphrasis, all in the same lyrical and fierce voice. Sharon Olds or Margaret Atwood come to mind, but Chang is completely and utterly herself ... If at times the verse is so metaphorical as to be obtuse, Chang earns that with the sheer power of the emotions at play ... Overall this is a remarkable book by a poet who taps into the great Over-Soul, as Emerson would put it, and carries the anguish, the urgency she finds there and puts it to paper. This is one of the best poetry collections of 2019.
With its poems of motherhood, of childhood, of race and difference, of being and loving, and of the body, Tina Chang’s Hybrida offers readers plenty to hold on to ... Hybrida is at its core a book of forms—bodily, linguistic, and poetic. Chang brings together poetic structures ... This collage-like mode makes Hybrida a stunning investigation of what textual form is and what it can do ... Chang exhibits her interest in the capacities of different poetic forms to carry both emotional vulnerability and incisive social critique ... The lyric poems of Hybrida are also a kind of singing—and Chang gets them just right.