MN poetry: Wang Ping’s “Syntax”

Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the China Sea. After three years of field work on a rural commune, she attended Beijing University. In 1985, she left the People’s Republic of China to study in the United States, and earned her Ph.D. from New York University. She’s the author of numerous collections of short stories and poetry, including “The Last Communist Virgin” and “The Magic Whip.” She teaches at Macalester College.

Syntax

She walks to a table

She walk to table

She is walking to a table

She walk to table now

What difference does it make

What difference it make

In Nature, no completeness

No sentence really complete thought

Language, like woman

Look best when free, undressed

- “Syntax,” by Wang Ping, as it appears in her poetry collection Of Flesh Spirit, published by Coffee House Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.

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