In Discipline, her third collection, Jane Yeh depicts a haunting and hilarious variety of lives, from an endangered young rhinoceros to the denizens of the 1980s New York club scene. These multifaceted poems explore what identity isn’t and is, as performance, as struggle, as change, as art with penetrating wit, channeling the voices of outsiders, artists, misfits, and others. Discipline inhabits the space between the real and the surreal, a mash-up of deadpan humour and heartbreaking imagery where novelty T-shirts and lady astronaut centaurs can coexist. The poems are triggered by videos, paintings and installations by contemporary artists, animals and city life. They bristle with striking details and observations. Imaginary landscapes converge with episodes from recent history: power, resistance and the structures of oppression are seen inexorably in operation. These miniature dramas perform their own autopsies: ‘Sweet, then sour. My lips the colour of Doubt’.
Jane Yeh was born in America and educated at Harvard University. She holds Master’s degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Manchester Metropolitan University, and a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her first collection of poems, Marabou (Carcanet, 2005), was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Forward, and Aldeburgh poetry prizes. Her second collection, The Ninjas, was published by Carcanet in 2012. She has been a judge for the National Poetry Competition and was named a Next Generation poet by the Poetry Book Society in 2014. Her third collection of poems, Discipline, will be published by Carcanet in March 2019 and is a Poetry Book Society Spring Recommendation.
PBS members can order their copies with 25% discount and read the full Selector commentary and author interview in the Spring 2019 Bulletin. Charter members receive all four recommendations, the PBS Choice and the Bulletin every quarter!