Mary Soon Lee, "The Sign of the Dragon" (Jaberwocky, 2020)

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First place winner of the 2021 Elgin Award, The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee (Jaberwocky, 2020) is an epic fantasy about a young king who must defend his kingdom against a number of outside forces, both human and terrifyingly otherworldly. Lee draws from Chinese culture to create a legendary figure in King Xau, one of honor, nobility, and subtle magic. With light, clean, and lyrical language, these poems shape an epic story of heroism and humanity.

“Who saw them raft over the river,

three hours before daybreak?

Who saw their half-dark lanterns

glimmer on helmut and shield?

The heron in the reeds;

the crane startled to air.”

— from “Crossing”, The Sign of the Dragon

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She writes both fiction and poetry, and has won the Rhysling Award and the Elgin Award. Her two latest books are from opposite ends of the poetry spectrum: Elemental Haiku, containing haiku for each element of the periodic table, and The Sign of the Dragon, an epic fantasy with Chinese elements.

Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction.

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