Pinning Down the Escape Artist

Found a 2007 review of my first poetry book, Prau, that I don’t remember having seen before. This is what happens when you start using search engines other than Google; not everything you look at on other search engines is designed to monetize your browsing habits. Anyway, this review, “Pinning Down the Escape Artist,” by Lee Kottner, was a pleasant surprise, especially since I am just completing two separate poetry manuscripts (since Prau), which I will be submitting for publication soon:

“Listen to catch with intimate hooks the drift / of King James or a coroner’s conversation / nurse learned syllables as seeded fluff to Velcro . . .” Jean Vengua tells us near the end of her new poetry collection, (italics)Prau,(/italics) winner of the Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize. In a 2006 [interview] (, Vengua calls herself “an escape artist” when describing her poetics, and (italics)Prau,(/italics) named after an Indonesian* sailboat, is all about being on the move. The book is divided into four sections: Momentum, Displacements/In Place, Ghost Vessels, and Rowing/Breathing. Despite all that movement, or in some cases, longing for movement, one thing anchors Vengua firmly, and that’s her language. Though her settings range from Mindinao to Monterey to Alaska, it’s the rich images of her poetics that give us a sense of the place her poems come from…” Read more HERE.

* I was really thinking of a Philippine sailboat.

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