An elegiac illumination of personal and political histories misremembered and censored, There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is animated by the intimate language of spirits—living, loved, and gone—singing to us from the hereafter.
A poet of deep noticing, JinJin Xu interrogates the nature of witness and memory, taking seriously the consequence of confession in a foreign land, in a language not her own. Xu grapples with a forbidden language—blending the lyric with confession and erasure to sing the unspeakable, to open our eyes to seek the light. This is a stellar debut from a poet you should watch out for.
“Reader, you are lucky to have the award-winning chapbook of JinJin Xu before you. These superb poems resonate with personal and cultural intimacy. JinJin Xu writes with the insight and skill of a veteran poet, a doyen, a griot. Her lines open and breathe on the page as they do in the mind and heart. There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is inventive, linguistic, ambitious, tender, wise, brave. This fabulous chapbook may be a collector’s item someday.” — Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
“There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is a demanding, deeply felt and formally inventive constellation of poems. Resisting the expectations of what poetry should look like, the text rearranges what we know of family, country, and language.” —Aria Aber, Hard Damage
“The way family pervades every aspect of our lives, the way we remain children forever, the way we can never transcend our bodies, the way some people really do write their poems in their own blood, the way we can move to a new country and become masters of its language and poetry and still never be set free from the grasp of our homes, the way the dead refuse to leave us, the way there is still singing in the afterlife, these are only some of the ways JinJin Xu writes sharp, beautiful and genre-threatening poems in this ridiculous time and place. Listen to her quiet, insistent voice; you’ll learn something.” — Matthew Rohrer, A Green Light
There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife by JinJin Xu
Radix Media 2020
New saddle-stitched chapbook