A Review of Anhthao Bui's Poetry Collection "Yellow Flower"
Ms. Anhthao Bui's poetry collection, Yellow Flower, begins with a quotation from Emily Dickinson: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." This sense of otherworldliness describes this reviewer's reaction upon reading Bui's collection. In 88 pages divided between ten concise chapters, Bui reveals numerous and seemingly-contradictory aspects of herself and her life. Her poetry is deeply personal, but the themes she deals with are universal.
The back cover of Yellow Flower details the events of her life. She came to the United States from Saigon, Vietnam in 1996. Poems such as "Four Times" describe struggles that any immigrant can relate to.
The beauty of Bui's poetry resides in this dichotomy between the personal and the universal. Each chapter deals with some aspect of her life, from the heartache of love gone bad to the triumph of learning and new beginnings. Her love of the United States is expressed in poems such as "America." To view our country through the eyes of a gifted immigrant such as Bui is a moving experience. Many of the experiences she describes in Yellow Flower have been experienced by millions, but we as readers can relate to her poetry on an individual basis.
Is Bui the Yellow Flower of her book's title? This is an apt metaphor. These poems reveal a woman who is beautiful and sensitive, but simultaneously resilient and dignified. Like the flower on the cover of her book, Anhthao Bui is a survivor. Yellow Flower is a deftly-conceived poetic portrait of a woman's life.