Lunar Maria by Kwan-Ann Tan
Publisher: Ghost City Press
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Cover Design: Charity Young
Available Through the Ghost City Press Website: Lunar Maria
Summary: This micro-chapbook is a part of the 2019 Ghost City Press Summer Micro-Chap Series. In the author’s words Lunar Maria is “a myth about the moon, a dysfunctional relationship, and some longings for home- centered around Chang’e.”
My Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: Lunar Maria is a stellar poetry collection that focuses on Chang’e, Chinese goddess of the moon! Tan crafts each and every poem with a distinct message and tale to be told. While weaving in beautiful imagery of nature alongside a clear story, she chronicles a tale of self, identity, and the deep complexity of emotion!
I’ll definitely expand more on this in my upcoming 2020 Reading Goals post, but in the new year I hope to challenge myself in terms of what I read. This means branching out to explore different formats of storytelling, such as chapbooks or reading more literary magazines!
My first read of 2020 is perfect start to that goal, considering its a poetry collection from an indie publisher that publishes chapbooks + micro-chapbooks that showcase poetry and short fiction!
From its very first pages, Tan immerses you in her wonderful collection with the story of goddess Chang’e and verses such as this:
I raise my head to view the moon, bow it, longing for my hometown.
Each poem (with 10 total) is crafted through such unique and beautiful imagery. They capture striking and vivid emotions linked with the oceans, lakes, even the moon!
There’s a variety of themes that are present throughout this collection and are explored through Tan’s descriptive writing! Lunar Maria includes themes of self, balance, finding home, and the complexities of love.
The jumps across time among each of the poems flows so naturally (between Chang’e’s story and a young woman returning home from school). This further showcases the distinct story that’s woven throughout each poem that also feel incredibly personal.
While I fell in love with every poem in this collection, I wanted to highlight a couple that really stood out to me: vi. mare tranquilitatis / the sea of tranquility, mare nectaris / the sea of nectar, & i. lacus somniorum / the lake of dreams.
The Sea Of Nectar is so visual and detailed, it beautifully lists comparisons of moonlight hitting earth! Its a gorgeous poem and really stood out to me.
The Sea Of Tranquility captures through such vivid emotion, a young woman returning home, making mooncakes, and enjoying the festival with her grandmother. It beautifully illustrates family, home, also the sense of love and calm that both bring.
Tan’s writing not only allows for a captivating story to be told with each poem, but also illustrates distinct emotions that shine throughout the verses. Not only that, but there’s a certain tone and mood that’s set through Tan’s impactful use of language and vivid imagery.
Kwan-Ann Tan is a Malaysian writer and beautifully explores the Chinese legend of Chang’e, which centers around immortality and how she became goddess of the moon.
Lunar Maria is a poetry collection I’d definitely see myself revisiting in the future! I’m also looking forward to checking out more of Ghost City Press’s published works, because these poems were fantastic!
Please check out this delightful collection, because its both moving and beautifully written! If your looking for magnificent storytelling explored through poetry, Kwan-Ann Tan’s is a short but phenomenal collection that I highly recommend!
Lunar Maria weaves in powerful storytelling through a wonderful collection of poetry! This a unique set of poems unlike any I’ve ever read before, filled with impactful themes, beautiful imagery, alongside wonderful writing while evoking such distinct emotions with every verse!
This book was also my first pick for #QuietReadathon, which is a readathon I’m hosting all about reading & inspiring conversation around underrated/quiet books! 📚🌿 If your interested in joining, check out all the info here!