Nanjing Massacre: Poems, The
Bamboo Ridge Press
Wing Tek Lum
Softcover, 236 pp.
The Nanjing Massacre: Poems offers us a series of snapshots of human cruelty, courage, and compassion that together compose a frightening yet accurate and unforgettable portrait of a historical nightmare. Like Goya’s prints in Disasters of War, or Ian MacMillan’s prose sketches in Proud Monster, Wing Tek Lum’s poems confront readers with fully realized vignettes of brutality, love, and suffering whose effect is cumulative.
The subject is the notorious Japanese occupation of Nanjing, China in 1937. The poems capture all perspectives of the tragedy from the weary, casually cruel Japanese soldiers to the uncomprehending child victims, and from the desperate helpless parents and the brutalized comfort women to the bloodless yet vicious bureaucrats of death.