An Introduction to Shou Jie Eng by Seth Brady Tucker

The unique instincts for fresh language and uncommon address operating at the center of Shou Jie Eng’s poetry reminds me of exactly no one; rarely have I stumbled upon a poet so young yet assured in voice and style. Eng’s poems take us on strange and vibrant journeys through time and space and even into those long-gone voices who lived and breathed the salt of the ocean as they worked—so close to nature and humankind’s relationship to the natural world—that the reader feels as if they have been swallowed whole, digested, hell even excreted alongside these giant sea monsters. In these poems, I see myself as Queequeg diving into the mouth of a whale; but I am also the harpooner, the deckmate, the sailor cutting hide from these beasts, even the cook deep in the bowels of a ship stirring bone and fat; I am of the whaling industry and forced to face the history of it, and ultimately, I am consumed by these poems, made to look at the horror and wonder of it all, gladly smelling of whale oil and sweat and the wide open sucking sea. I consider myself fortunate to have stumbled on Eng’s poems, and I cannot wait to see more.