Surrender

Description

131 pages
$15.95
ISBN 1-55128-095-7
DDC C811'.54

Author

Publisher

Year

2001

Contributor

Ronald Charles Epstein is a Toronto-based freelance writer and published poet.

Review

Poet Roy Miki, author of Broken Entries: Race, Subjectivity, Writing,
may be better known for his books on identity politics. Surrender’s
postmodern verse covers racial, and other, issues.

The Japanese-Canadian writer’s interest in this subject is not merely
academic; he was born in 1942, the year in which his people were
deported to relocation camps. Although he was a baby during his
confinement, he can access family and collective ancestral memories, as
well as historical documents.

In “watch signs,” poetic sentiments are grounded by “‘standing
orders, camp 101 ... / used at the prisoner-of-war / camp for japanese
canadians at angler, ontario’” that are quoted throughout the poem.
This literary device is refined in “a walk through portage mall”
that Miki took with his elderly mother. Today’s consumer-oriented
society is evoked by “the food service outlets. manchu wok
tacotime/a&w,” which are implicitly contrasted with “‘Take
blankets and clothes for the trip’” and other evacuation orders.

If the poem “fool’s scold, 1.4.97” was selected before the 9/11
tragedy, then its appearance acquires a prophetic relevance. This verse
details the poet’s efforts to clarify his entry status before his
visit to an academic conference in Irvine, California. Current U.S.
border-crossing procedures place others in similar situations.

Surrender offers some accessible features that encourage readers to
discover Miki’s postmodern poetics. His historical and contemporary
concerns may attract those who are not impressed with avant-garde style
and politically correct academic jargon.

Citation

Miki, Roy., “Surrender,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9138.