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Monica Youn
the trees all planted in the same month after the same fire
           each thick around
           as a man’s wrist
meticulously spaced grids cutting the sunshine
           into panels into planks
           and crossbeams of light
an incandescent architecture that is the home that was promised you

—from “Whiteacre”
First coined in 1628, the term “blackacre” is a legal fiction, a hypothetical estate. It is also a password among lawyers marking one’s initiation into a centuries-old tradition of legal indoctrination. Monica Youn’s fascinating, multifaceted new collection, Blackacre, uses the term to suggest landscape, legacy, what is allotted to each of us—a tract of land, a work of art, a heritage, a body, a destiny. What are the limits of the imagination’s ability to transform what is given? On any particular acre, can we plant a garden? Found a city? Unearth a treasure? Build a home? Youn brings her lawyerly intelligence and lyric gifts to bear on questions of fertility and barrenness as she attempts to understand her own desire—her own struggle—to conceive a child. Where the shape-making mind encounters unalterable fact, Blackacre explores new territories of art, meaning, and feeling.

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The brilliant new collection by Monica Youn following Ignatz, a finalist for the National Book Award

About the Author

Monica  Youn
Credit: Sarah Shatz
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre, and two previous poetry collections: Barter, and Ignatz, a finalist for the National Book Award. The daughter of Korean immigrants and a former lawyer, she teaches at Princeton University.
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Upcoming Events

Donika Kelly, Vijay Seshadri, and Monica Youn reading at 92Y

92nd St Y in New York, NYview map
"Paris Review Poets," a reading with Henri Cole, Shane McCrae, Jericho Brown, Lawrence Joseph, and Evie Shockley. Location: Buttenwieser Hall. Tickets are $15.

Graywolf at 45: Poetry reading co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America

National Arts Club in New York, NYview map

A poetry reading featuring Catherine Barnett (Human Hours), Ilya Kaminsky (Deaf Republic), Layli Long Soldier (WHEREAS), Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections), and Monica Youn (Blackacre). Co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and hosted by PSA Executive Director Alice Quinn.

Free and open to the public, with reception to follow.

Stephanie Burt and Monica Youn in conversation at the Strand Book Store

Strand Book Store in New York, NYview map
In support of Burt's DON'T READ POETRY. Tickets are $15-30.


  • “[Monica Youn is] one of the most consistently innovative poets working today.”—Tess Taylor, NPR “All Things Considered”
  • Blackacre stands as a gorgeous and intellectually scintillating addition to this esoteric and necessary tradition.”Chicago Tribune
  • “Youn reminds readers that poetry is essential because of how it says what can’t be expressed through prose.”The Washington Post
  • “[Blackacre] explores everything from racial identity to intfertility. . . . It’s grim, bleak, and haunting writing, and also beautiful.”Bustle
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