Hottentot Venus

By Cathy Park Hong
Overheard in the heat, the air, the fruit fly’s drone
of the perfect helix, overheard in science’s repartee

of right and wrong, in the gossip of perfumed women
basking in London’s charmless sun,

Overheard in the gasps of penny sideshows, the formulas
of doctors summing up freaks in taxidermic clinics,

Overheard in the echo of cubic hallways,
in the speculum’s wand first tested on the slave woman,

Overheard in history’s senile tympanum

was a Song.

Rain irrigating fact, jars mapping name,
Recollect my throat, my organs, my bones

Cathy Park Hong, “Hottentot Venus” from Translating Mo’um. Copyright © 2002 by Cathy Park Hong. Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press.

Source: Translating Mo’um (Hanging Loose Press, 2002)

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Poet Cathy Park Hong

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Cathy Park Hong

Biography

Cathy Park Hong’s first collection, Translating Mo'um, was published in 2002 by Hanging Loose Press. Her second book, Dance Dance Revolution, was chosen for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and will be published by W.W. Norton in 2007. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Her writing on politics and her reviews have . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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