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From From

Monica Youn

Cover of From From by Monica Youn
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, American, BAME, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (160 pages)
(Pub. May 2023)
£14.99 £13.49
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(Pub. May 2023)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • A Publishers Weekly and New York Times Book of the Year
    Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry 2023

    Monica Youn's first UK collection is her fourth and most ambitious book. It ends with prose, or at least with paragraphs, the long lyrical essay 'In the Passive Voice', and the intense 'Detail of the Rice Chest', explorations of race, identity and belonging seldom so directly broached in poetry, though they are the unspoken theme of much of our silenced discourse. Monica Youn is an undefended poet, which is not the same thing as defenceless. On the contrary, the undefended poet speaks truths without defensive irony. When there is humour it disarms the reader, until we too are undefended and can confront some of the themes we are reluctant to speak of.

    The poems recast classical myth in the light of coloniality, otherness and desire, juxtaposing figures which elicit one another's deeper natures. There are metamorphoses, fables. In place of Wallace Stevens's blackbird, Youn proposes 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Magpie', the two-hued bird with a bad reputation.
    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 ... read more
    Awards won by Monica Youn Short-listed, 2023 The National Book Award for Poetry
    (From From)
    'It is a collection that asks complicated questions about how the applications of art and creative practice manifest in real world community-building and demand lengthy consideration of the ways in which we interact with each other, navigating privileges and systems of power.'
    SK Grout, Alchemy Spoon
    'From From is a many-layered exploration of what and how we desire. Do we contain desire or does it contain us? Youn uses the windows of myth and history to answer.'
    Ellora Sutton, MsLexia

    '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
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