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Topic: Lily Wang

Playful Melancholy: Saturn Peach by Lily Wang

Saturn Peach is an impressive debut. Withdrawn and melancholy, this collection is rich with fresh imagery. With beautiful images like “beetle-tongue”(“Some Trees”), “almond milk in all the trees”(“Stadium Show”), or waving “one’s heart at the sky like a dirty washcloth” (“Figura”), Lily Wang juxtaposes playfulness with a feeling of melancholy present throughout her collection. This sadness is more peripheral than outright, hanging off the poems, leaving space for love and friendship. In the poem “For My Friends Who Save Me,” the speaker exclaims, “Here come my friends. / Chirping in a rainbow floating on a puddle. Easy. / I’m clutched in a claw.” The more vulnerable moments are touching, but not too saccharine, maintaining the cool voice of the narrator. Adept at hugging the line, Wang never becomes overly sentimental nor too absurd, keeping the reader on their toes but never plunging too far in one direction or the other.