At first a few of them survived the classroom’s filibuster and then later, the censor’s bonfires. For the most part, they now bunch together on our maps as hot stars, and sometimes some of them can be seen and measured with Hubble’s infrared spectroscope.

First lines of Cadenzas (Redbat Books, 2021) by Alex Kuo ’61.

Cadenzas is a unique, double-sided work of fiction that narrates a conversation between music and language, with walk-ins by Dorothy Parker, Dante, Edith Sitwell, J.S. Bach, Qiu Jin, Dmitri Shostakovich, and June Jordan. It is Kuo’s accumulation of more than 80 years of living, listening, and writing on several continents and breathing in the cadences of several languages, including three Chinese dialects.