Score and Bone by Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win Chapbook Cover 2 09.07.2016.png
Maw Shein Win Chapbook Cover 2 09.07.2016.png

Score and Bone by Maw Shein Win


Via two alternating voices—interior (observed) and narrative (observer)—that speak to one another, the striking, image-rich poems in Score and Bone’s two sections delve into the subjects of film and perception, body and memory, and lead the reader through a visceral cinematic landscape.

What people have to say

"The two halves of Score and Bone form either side of a mobius strip, two sides of a ribbon of perception and self-observation. As in the first poem, “Score,” with its gorgeously autonomous and slightly surreal images, the poems in the book’s eponymous first half have a filmic quality, as if directed and observed by an omnipotent narrator-self. The second half is made up of experiences, objects, and “The Treachery of Objects…” The poet observes herself recovering from major surgery, first as if on film, daily rushes, with quick cuts, and then she feels as the experience deeply means—“Isolate the pain, the size of a buffalo nickel”—staring steadily into the scar that is both companion and abyss. This is a deft, lovely, sometimes whimsical, poem-journal of recovery."

Joyce Jenkins, Editor and Director of Poetry Flash

"In Score and Bone, Maw Shein Win’s poems demonstrate a maturation of perspective, more considered risk taking, and a deepening of self-understanding. Written in a variety of free-verse forms, and largely in declarative, end-stopped lines (like film stills) that serve to modulate feeling and regulate the relentless tumble of images, Win’s poems simultaneously contain and displace, fragment and cohere, illuminate and constrain (“Morning glories beautify and suffocate the pine tree”). The speaker's tone throughout is subdued, even dispassionate; feeling and story are conveyed obliquely via stark, stacked images (“The forest burns a violent red. Deer leap from the flames, singed flanks”). A pervasive sense of dislocation is tempered by references to the body, to the material. Ranging across subjects that include the dissolution of a marriage, alienation, dream and fantasy, and hip surgery, Score and Bone is “A hybrid, a mystery, a biopic” and represents Win’s coming into her own brave and singular voice."

– Mari L’Esperance, author of The Darkened Temple (poems)

"In Score and Bone, Maw Shein Win reduces narrative, perception and memory to synecdoche and metonym; reality is posed as a problem of scale (macro- to micro-scopic perceiving and remembering) and movement from part to part, object to object. These deceptively simple, simply evocative, poems remind us that we humans, a part of the cultural and natural worlds, are all differently abled. And those differences are too a manifestation of the known and unknown universe."

– Tyrone Williams, author of Red Between Green (2015), Howell (2011), On Spec (2008), and other books and chapbooks

"In this book of brilliantly linked poems, identity is information: The more of it we have, the more mysterious we become. “Where will the deer sleep?” comes from the same place, and is given the same weight, as “Why do we hope?” Is to weigh to lose, or to better define, yourself? We are made to forget what we bring to what we see. Full of calm and disorientation. Like saying the same word over and over until it loses meaning, but as though you were seeking that loss; as though, eyes wide, you can feel something, you know not what, has opened."

– Evan Karp, Creator and Director of Quiet Lightning

Publication Details

All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers. 

September 2016 • 5 x 7 • 60 pp. • Trade Paper

ISBN: 978-0-9970933-7-7

Original front- and back-cover artwork by Livien Yin and Arthur Johnstone

Interior and cover design by J. K. Fowler

Author Details

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