We are ecstatic to announce the publication of Sharon Wang’s debut, Republic of Mercy, with Tupelo Press! Republic of Mercy was the winner of the 2016 Kundiman Poetry Prize. Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine and Poetry Editor Cassandra Cleghorn praised this wonderful collection thusly:
This is a startling, ambitious debut. In Sharon Wang's thrilling and corporeal geometry, touch dominates, if often in its "aftermarks": singes, whiffs, folds of fabric, echoing gestures between bodies. A sureness of craft and extraordinary control of tone enable Wang to move through a range of lyric personae, always believable, never reducible, by turns modest ("here move slowly we are not practiced"), speculative, heart-broken, ecstatic, even giddy with vaulting dreams ("But who wouldn't want to be the sun"). With generous language and quicksilver intelligence, Wang expresses "a hunger so large it stops the mouth." … As the poet works to understand, "If in fact it wasn't possible to build/ the world anew," she does build –– extravagantly, judiciously, lovingly. The result is a book of radiant integrity.
We love the exacting details, luscious flow, and rich textures in the following poem, “Story”:
We knew before the thing
happened but what good did it do.
Like learning/ a nursery rhyme,
reciting, he was a good horse.
Branches bending/ then flowers,
a flash occurred. We must have
looked up. Sounds, low,
and the swaying of each sound—
they felt like sightings of
one dark animal, then another,
breaking up a line of hills.
I heard each syllable, discernable
and discrete. If there is any sort
of order in, say, a hand placing
flowers down into the room
a light crashes into. If an act tugs
another act the way the moon
tugs at threads of water. And threads
of water tug at a surface/ netted,
rippling, fallible mirror, false surface
in which limbs could submerge
under black and rolling liquid.
I breathed into his open mouth,
I think. One of us tossed a pebble,
a stranger observed where it struck.
Congratulations again to Sharon Wang on this striking debut! You can purchase Republic of Mercy here. NYC friends, we hope to see you at our celebratory reading at NYU on Friday, November 2nd, with Franny Choi and Mia Ayumi Malhotra!
Sharon Wang's poems have appeared in Blackbird, Tupelo Quarterly, Anti-, OmniVerse, and The Volta. She earned an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and currently works as a web developer. This is her first published collection.