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Monica Youn

Author Photo of Monica Youn, 2022 (credit Beowulf Sheehan)
Books by this author: From From
  • About
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  • Awards
  • Monica Youn grew up in Houston, the daughter of Korean immigrants, and now splits her time between Brooklyn and Southern California, where she is an associate professor of English at UC Irvine. Her previous poetry collections are Blackacre (2016), Ignatz (2010), and Barter (2003). She has been awarded the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America, a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and a Stegner Fellowship among other honors. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the PEN Open Book Award. She is a former constitutional lawyer and a member of the curatorial collective the Racial Imaginary Institute.
    'From From, Monica Youn's fourth book of poems, is a striking departure from her first three books. Instead of addressing race obliquely and occasionally, From From confronts it full-on, from beginning to end.... The result is a volume of poems that is deeply heartfelt yet bracingly suspicious, exploratory and accomplished.'
    Jee Leong Koh, The Poetry School
    'From From is equal parts comic and tragic, clinical and wrenching. Monica Youn's parables and studies are devastating meditations on the sadism of whiteness and the abjection of racial containment. From the personal, to Du Soon Ja, to beloved icons like Dr Seuss, Youn examines how complicity gestates and develops, how unexamined desire and fear lead to the hatred of the other and oneself while yanking up the roots of words to unearth the hidden biases built into the way we speak. [...] From From is unforgiving and horrifying, singular and absolutely extraordinary.'
    Cathy Park Hong
    'Youn's attention to racist rhetoric creates the most powerful moments of 'From From', right up to the volume's final line, which refuses to close the book and instead splits it open like a lightning bolt. In reflecting and refracting the fantasies and absurdities, dark secrets and blatant cruelties by which American racism invents and maintains itself, Youn counters our brutal imagination with flammable, superior dreams.'
    Joyelle McSweeney, The New York Times
    Awards won by Monica Youn Short-listed, 2023 The National Book Award for Poetry
    (From From)
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