Shannon Nakai

The Corporeal Nature of the In-Between: Identities and Migration in Grace Talusan’s The Body Papers – by Shannon Nakai

Grace Talusan’s powerhouse memoir The Body Papers is an intimate, explosive account of a life marked by migration, trauma, and survival. Her recurrent themes of identity in the in-between space of American vs. Filipino, girl vs. woman, victim vs. survivor, woman as mother vs. infertility, all tie in to the […]

Deafness and Silence as Weapons of Resistance or Scapegoats?: On Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic

Fifteen years after Tupelo Press released his first collection of poetry, Ilya Kaminsky delivers a stunning interplay of poetic structures and voices in Deaf Republic. His latest work is a collective narrative recounting the events that follow the murder by soldiers of a local deaf boy. Told through multiple lenses […]

Returning to the “shell”—on Analicia Sotelo’s Virgin

“It wasn’t her fault. She wasn’t the shell I was after.”   So ends Analicia Sotelo’s “I’m Trying to Write a Poem About a Virgin and It’s Awful,” selected by Tracy K. Smith for Best New Poets 2015. Sotelo’s first full-length collection, Virgin, pursues and rediscovers the “shell,” the heart […]

“How do eyes and ears keep pace?” A Review of Jenny Xie’s Eye Level

Jenny Xie’s second poetry collection, Eye Level, reveals the prowess of a new contemporary literary great. The title theme weaves a cohesive fabric of perception—the physical, metaphysical, and cultural act of seeing and being seen—among a rich array of topics ranging from solitude to heritage, migration to land and (dis)placement. […]

Falling in Love with the World: A Review of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Oceanic

In Oceanic, her fourth collection of poetry, Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes a series of love letters to the world and its inhabitants. From intimate psalms of love to her husband—whose love wields electricity as they ascend the Swiss Alps—to poems addressed to starfish, turtles, and the Northern Lights, the “you” in […]