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“Janice Sapigao, in this powerful and innovative debut, captures her mother’s traumatic experience as an assembly line worker in Silicon Valley, as well as the larger social, economic, and environmental impacts of the high tech industry. The poems switch between English, Ilokano, and binary code, and between documentary, visual, ethnographic, and lyric modes. In our time of toxic exposure, labor exploitation, and gentrification, Sapigao shows us how poetry can be a site to protest injustice, affirm dignity, and maintain hope.”

–Craig Santos Perez

Cynthia Dewi Oka’s nomadic poetry migrates across Indonesia, Canada, and the United States, witnessing “the unbearable with the light.” The unbearable signals the trauma of displacement, war, racism, violence, colonialism, and empire; conversely, the light heralds love, family, home, memory, and the natural world. Nomad of Salt and Hard Water shows that poetry is “born without sanctuary,” “beats its wings / against history” and waits “replete with all that cannot be saved.” This compelling and revised edition speaks to women of color, migrants, survivors, mothers, laborers–all of us–to say: “you are stronger than / the ruins you carry, that salvage is not your / body.”

-Craig Santos Perez

 

Benjamin Landry crafts an eco-lyric voice that celebrates everyday life yet remains “realistic about the future of the coastline.” Throughout Burn Lyrics, the speaker walks barefoot amongst family and strangers, wolves and goats, hummingbirds and pigeons, greenswards and dandelions, storms and fires. At the end of this journey, the old lyric self sheds its skin and the book becomes a new self to call and return the body home.

—Craig Santos Perez

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Through avant-garde, documentary, and eco-poetic modes, Drew Dillhunt weaves the intimate themes of birth, parenthood, and family into the global contexts of plastic production and ecological collapse. Memorable moments and meaningful objects abound in the unfolding of Dillhunt’s poetic mindfulness: a home pregnancy test, an ultrasound, a car accident, a bath, a breast pump, non-stick pans, a patent for a machine that molds hollow plastic products. The form of Leaf is All embodies the serial metamorphosis of nature and experience, structurally expanding and contracting into repeating limbs and leaves. Read these poems carefully because they are tenderly inscribed with fragmented origins and precarious futures.

–Craig Santos Perez

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“Collier Nogues, who grew up on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, explores how war has shaped the island of her childhood. Taken together, these poems not only express a desire to erase violence, but they also attempt to map the topography of islands and nations, caves and embrasures, weapons and flags, grace and dread. Nogues is a brave poet who disassembles the official discourses of empire to articulate a dream for an island of peace.”

— Craig Santos Perez

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Home Remedies is a salve made from organic rhythms and forms mixed with locally sourced images, characters, and voices from Hawaiʻi and the Philippines. As if by poetic magic, Amalia Bueno transforms coconut oil, paper seeds, and 500 lumpia into healing prayers. Apply these poems generously, dear reader, because they have the power to soothe our displaced, migratory, aging, forgotten, and incarcerated bodies.

—Craig Santos Perez, author, from unincorporated territory [guma’]

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Kaia Sand’s Remember To Wave maps the temporal palimpsests and traumatic political history of Portland, Oregon. Sand writes the seen and unseen city in the spirit of William Carlos Williams’ Paterson, Charles Olson’s Gloucester, or Barbara Jane Reyes’ San Francisco. She reads the geography of Portland for its displacements, exclusions, migrations, disappearances, ruins, and hauntings. Sand asks: “Do we need our ruins visible?” The answer resonates throughout Remember to Wave as poetry creates a deeply felt awareness of past and present injustices. In this profound and threaded mapping, Sand composes “an ode of accretion”—a song of our ruins rendered visible.

Craig Santos Perez, author of from unincorporated territory

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The Morning News is Exciting  arrives below the 38th parallel, crosses transnational distances, and dwells within the traumatic and triumphant experience of women as exiles and against empire. Don Mee Choi translates feminist politics into an experimental poetry that demilitarizes, deconstructs and decolonizes any master narrative.

–Craig Santos Perez

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Lehua Taitano’s memorable first collection of poems, a bell made of stones, bravely navigates the currents of mixed-race indigenous identity, transoceanic migration, and queer sexuality. Through a series of experimental (and lyrical) typographic poems, Taitano charts Chamorro legends, family stories, military mappings, colonial politics, and diasporic trauma. With the typewriter as her canoe, Taitano chants homeward “for the flightless, to stretch roots, for the husk of things set adrift.”

–Craig Santos Perez

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While the Philippine Reservation of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis displayed Filipino bodies and customs for an American audience, Aimee Suzara’s provocative poetry flips the script to question the ethics of the imperial gaze. Juxtaposing the “savage circus” of the exposition with her own contemporary migrations, she paints an intimate portrait of her own family’s experience with all-American landscapes, foods, movies, music, dreams and disappointments. As you read this book, something “tells you to stop looking, / but you are spun: sutured / to your subject.” By engaging with a variety of archival material and a range of poetic modes (lyric, narrative, documentary, collage), the poet keeps our attention on the voices, objects, possessions, souvenirs, and memories that we hold onto. In the end, the poet asks herself, her ancestors, and even us: “What do you brace, so as not to break.”

–Craig Santos Perez

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Monks, nuns, crows, saints, mimes, phantom fire-eaters, dogs, and “selves without a string” dance through the surreal pastoral of a postmodern landfill. Human and other animate bodies eat, scatter, dream, reflect, and sing in a fugue of fragmented voices. In this memorable collection, Mary Kasimor enacts an “image drama” and “performance burlesque” across every poetic line, surprising the reader with a new “species of FORM.” The Landfill Dancers will take you where the wild is always open.

–Craig Santos Perez

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The Disordered, an impressive first book, awakens the haunted mind. The language of this book “leaps from eardrum to eardrum” through an undulating rhythm of prose poems, free verse, footnotes, and an appendix. The poet guides us “closer to the bone” of experience, in which stories are stored in the stomach, and “the real war is the hidden radiation in our lawns.” Anhvu Buchanan is an exciting poet who is “trying to recover our eyes” in his search for “a necklace made from compass parts” in a world of broken recipes, broken bulbs, broken solar panels, and broken bodies. In these hymns, songs, and mirrors, we learn that the “I” is “us” and memory is “burnt to the bone.”

–Craig Santos Perez

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The first coconut tree in Samoa grew from the buried head of an eel. Husk the coconut and its eyes stare at you. Now turn your eyes towards these impressive poems and witness how the fibers of experience and memory are twisted into stories strong enough to tie together a fale (house) or vaʻa (canoe). Just as coconut leaves are used to weave baskets, fans, and mats, Dan Taulapapa McMullin weaves multiple languages and poetic forms to address themes of migration, gender, colonialism, and sexuality in his first collection, Coconut Milk. At its sacred center lies the rich meat: the “faʻafafine,” an identity within Samoan culture that McMullin shows is much more complex, intimate, erotic, humorous, and natural, than simply “gay.” Throughout, the unfolding waves of words press and sieve the coconut meat into milk and oil, which nourish the Pacific body and give it a “faʻafafine shine.” When you open the shell of this book and drink from its mouth, you will be kissing the eel. You will be kissing “the sea filled with rainbows.”

–Craig Santos Perez

© , Craig Santos Perez | Visual design by Jai Arun Ravine.