Before a Blue Sky Moon deals with themes of childhood, displacement, loss and redemption both spiritual and secular, the meaning of personal love, and at the same time gives us stunning and magical insights into a Chinese Canadian family.
Winner of the Stephan G. Stephansson Award
Winner of the National Magazine Awards Silver Medal for Poetry
With huge heart, Chan opens the difficult door between languages and lets us into the experience of making not only a life in the intersection of cultures, but of creating a new family from the ashes of the old: A remarkable book that lets you breathe the familiar air differently and new.
Sumptuous is the first word of description that comes to mind in describing the aesthetic here… The autobiographical elements … are fresh, and the speaker’s ambiguity in dealing with a mother’s death, estrangement from the father, family breakup, and keeping the children and family together through the bleak passages of life in an orphanage are deeply poignant and moving… This is an excellent first book.
Chan’s poems speak eloquently and precisely of homesickness, culture shock, loneliness, alienation, uncertainty, abandonment, dilemmas, difficult choices, intergenerational limbo, and the friction of two cultures colliding… Being alive is to suffer, to regret, to rejoice, to learn, and to grow. Weyman Chan is able to express all of that in a natural, uncontrived, heartfelt way. He is not ashamed to openly confess his love… Before a Blue Sky Moon pulses with the thick elixir of lifeblood, and it is a potent and transfiguring concoction indeed.
Chan’s book, Before a Blue Sky Moon, reveals a poet who specializes in evoking the ungraspable.
Chan Wee-Meen’s (Weyman’s) Before A Blue Sky Moon offers us a veritable food court of poetry. These poems display impeccable care and choice in their lyric naming of memory, family and place. “I want to describe their loss,” the poet confides, as he narrates flavours of a diasporic sadness where “here” is always an impossible “there”. The particularity of sentiment, recognition and language in this book is impressive in its wise and responsive attention to the self’s hungers.
Before a Blue Sky Moon tells a powerful story of family and loss. Whether Chan is writing about his own children, his beloved, the loss of his mother, the estrangement with his father and his father’s past, his lush, sensuous poetry redeems it all. There is nothing contrived here, for he writes with an immediacy, tenderness, and frankness that will move and astound you. This book confidently spans time, geography, cultures, generations and languages, and each poem brims with fresh insights. Chan’s writing is so richly filled with the sights sounds and smells of a living world that this book will leave you feeling hopeful and changed.
About the Author
Weyman Chan, who lives and works in Calgary, is married with two daughters. His poems and short stories have been published in many journals and anthologies. His poetry also appears in Many Mouthed Birds: Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians. Before a Blue Sky Moon is his first book. Weyman Chan was Winner of the National Magazine Awards Silver Medal for Poetry, in 2003.
Weyman is featured on Ryerson University’s Asian Heritage in Canada site.