Cathy Song - Biography and Works

Cathy Song is a descendant of Korean immigrants born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Wahiawa, a village on the island of Oahu. She was educated at the University of Hawaii, Wellesley College, and Boston University, and her first book, Picture Bride (1982), was published in the Yale series of Younger Poets.

Cathy Song (Born in 1955)

Song has taught creative writing at various colleges and universities on the mainland, but lives permanently in Hawaii. Her poems seek meaning in daily activities, common objects, and familiar scenes, often establishing a mood of serenity in order to complicate it. Although Song eschews regular metrics, she renders her work with clarity and subtlety. Meditation and reflection on her family dominate her poems, and she celebrates the self with sensitivity and precision.

Cathy Song as an Asian American writer, she belongs to the new multiplicity of American poets in the modern American multi-cultural literature (poetry); she can also be said to belong to a category of the Asian origin. In the broader category of the late twentieth century “multicultural” American poets and poetry, there are others like the Red Indian American poets (like Silko and Momaday) Black poets like (Hughes and Dove), Black immigrant poets like (Ondaatje and Walcott), Black Muslim poet (Baraka), homosexual poet (Gunn), feminist poets, and so on.

Her poem "Girl Powdering her Neck" is based on a picture, a special kind of Japanese woodprint by a famous printer Utamaro; she meditates on the art intently until she gains a vision for the life of the courtesan (rich prostitute) depicted on it, and on the nature of human beauty and appearance. The poem describes the image of a girl printed in Ukiyo-e. The whole description is of painting, and the painting is the image of the bathroom, the time is morning and the girl is in the bathroom.

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Sharma, Kedar N. "Cathy Song - Biography and Works." BachelorandMaster, 2 Nov. 2013,

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Girl Powdering her Neck: Summary and Analysis