Red Thread by Teresa Mei Chuc (2021)
Red Thread, first published in 2012 by Fithian Press, an imprint of Daniel & Daniel Publishers, was re-published and re-released in 2021 by Shabda Press.
Cover painting by Ann Phong https://annphongart.com/
Cover design by Arash Jahani https://arashjahani.com/
"RED THREAD by Teresa Mei Chuc is one of my favorite poetry collections. It documents the experience of Vietnamese refugees via poetry, so brilliant, so painful yet so hopeful it takes my breath away. On the occasion of this book being re-printed, I highly recommend those interested in Vietnam or in good literature to pick it up.
The importance of Teresa Mei Chuc's poetry should be acknowledged. Please read her poem, ‘Agent Orange’ [from the collection] - one of the best poems ever written about this topic." --Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Internationally bestselling author of THE MOUNTAINS SING
"Differing poetic voices embody differing poetic gifts. Teresa Mei Chuc’s poems are blessed with a very special gift: These poems speak from the heart of one woman’s experience, and these poems expand beyond the personal to reveal and record the common experience of multitudes—Southeast Asians who immigrated to the U.S. during the Vietnam War. In the poem, “The Bomb Shelter,” the poet’s mother huddles in a bunker, while the poet herself huddles in the mother’s womb. The poet swims in amniotic fluid “imprinted with airplanes dropping bombs.” In the poem, “Cockroaches,” rather than sell baby sister, the penniless brother vows to eat cockroaches if he must. Years later the poet visits her birthplace, sees cockroaches (“brown shiny tanks”) on the walls, and salutes them as “evidence of my brother’s love for me.” Similarly, “Grandma (A Hologram)” reminds the reader of the enduring resilience of blood kinship, across continents, beyond oceans. “You are part of the light/” Teresa Mei Chuc writes, “scattered from me/ so that even/ a tiny fragment, an eyelash,/ still contains the whole of you.” The “American experience,” what is it? Teresa Mei Chuc’s Red Thread offers us all another piece in this difficult puzzle." --Lowell Jaeger, Editor of New Poets of the American West, Montana State Poet Laureate (2017 to 2019)
"Teresa Mei Chuc’s book of poems, Red Thread, makes me wish I were in possession of another language because my English words cannot quite meet up to the respect, admiration, and praise that this poet’s work sings forth in every atom of me. Her poetry accomplishes a vast sweep across time and many places, a journey that brings minute attention to human beings and to non-human existence, as well. Red Thread’s intricate brilliance soars in its arc of personal history bound in with world history, natural history, and all life on earth. These poems weave a luminous spell of interconnecting images, haunting music, and delicate/powerful tropes. How moving for me with my own memories of the Vietnam War Era to read poems by a woman who escaped Vietnam as a small girl while her father remained in a North Vietnamese prison camp. I wonder if a red thread has led me to this poet and her resplendent work, such is my good luck. Truly, Teresa Mei Chuc’s heart-shaking poems will carry any wayfaring reader home with their beauty, bravery and wisdom." --Susan Deer Cloud, Poet & NEA Fellowship Recipient
"What moves me most in this collection is the speaker's characteristic gesture of tracing the intersecting patterns made by the "threads" that weave her world. In "The Bomb Shelter," our original human tie--the biological one between mother and fetus--becomes both an image of life's continuity and a frightening metaphor for the helpless vulnerability that all bodies share when bombs explode. This poem reflects in microcosm Teresa Mei Chuc's rare ability to convey the indelible damage of war and violence without losing her hold on beauty. Red Thread explores the crossroads of lyrical and documentary forms, and of family and global histories, with a remarkable clarity of attention to both inner and outer experience." --Jan Clausen, Poet and recipient of writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts
Available on BarnesandNoble.com in print
and in Nook ebook
Also available on Amazon in print
and Kindle ebook
To purchase a signed copy directly from the author:
$14 plus $5 (shipping & packaging in the U.S. only) - total $19
To listen to the audiobook of Red Thread: Poems for free, go to https://soundcloud.com/user-207787259/sets/red-thread-poems-by-teresa-mei This audiobook was recorded by Joseph Paz Dominguez at Mycorrhiza Studios in Alhambra, California.
Rattle Interview on RED THREAD
COUNTERPUNCH - Poetry and Transformation, a review of Red Thread and interview
Interview on Poets Cafe with Lois P Jones
Teresa Mei Chuc reading from Red Thread: Poems