Christine Imperial’s MISTAKEN FOR AN EMPIRE: A MEMOIR IN TONGUES (Mad Creek Books, 2023)

“Halt! Sinong binabantayan mo? Christine Imperial carries onto the page Kipling’s famous burden and the implications of her name: General Imperial and General MacArthur; a mother and a mirror; a white ex-girlfriend and You’re My Foreignoy/Foreignay. Incorporating images, newspaper headlines, and personal memories, she offers memoir as translation, reiteration, poetry, and hybrid desire for belonging. She reminds us: ‘the blueprint of a tongue is a crossfire.’ Drop everything and read this searing debut.” —Gabrielle Civil, author of the déjà vu: black dreams & black time

“In translating Kipling’s ‘The White Man’s Burden’ into Tagalog, Christine Imperial pries open this notoriously imperialist poem, annotating it with innovative writing full of peril, rebelliousness, and surprise. This dazzling debut is a major contribution to contemporary literary culture.” —Michael Leong

“Christine Imperial takes to task the misrecognitions so fundamental to the construction of personal identity and to the deployment of language in the world. Never aiming for transcendental insight, this work of poetry and memoir remains true to its original challenge to translate. A shining, subversive work.” —Jon Wagner

~ by Michael Leong on February 24, 2023.

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