Magnetic Refrain

MagneticNicky Sa-en Schildkraut (MFA, 2002)

Adopted from Korea at the age of two, Schildkraut's writings seek to both unsettle and complicate presumptions about what ties people together in times of longing and loss. Her provocative and intensely lyrical poems draw upon personal experiences as well as the larger Korean diaspora — particularly its women. In these explorations of war brides, defectors, birth mothers, and other adoptees, Schildkraut searches for a formal expression that embraces refrain as both song and restraint. Using the language and imagery of myth, political slogans, avant-garde films, and psychological texts, these poems destabilize the concepts of identity and citizenship, making them strikingly new.