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Book Title

From From

Author 1
Monica Youn
“Where are you from . . . ? No—where are you from from?” It’s a question every Asian American gets asked as part of an incessant chorus saying you’ll never belong here, you’re a perpetual foreigner, you’ll always be seen as an alien, an object, or a threat.

Monica Youn’s From From brilliantly evokes the conflicted consciousness of deracination. If you have no core of “authenticity,” no experience of your so-called homeland, how do you piece together an Asian American identity out of Westerners’ ideas about Asians? Your sense of yourself is part stereotype, part aspiration, part guilt. In this dazzling collection, one sequence deconstructs the sounds and letters of the word “deracinations” to create a sonic landscape of micro- and macroaggressions, assimilation, and self-doubt. A kaleidoscopic personal essay explores the racial positioning of Asian Americans and the epidemic of anti-Asian hate. Several poems titled “Study of Two Figures” anatomize and dissect the Asian other: Midas the striving, nouveau-riche father; Dr. Seuss and the imaginary daughter Chrysanthemum-Pearl he invented while authoring his anti-Japanese propaganda campaign; Pasiphaë, mother of the minotaur, and Sado, the eighteenth-century Korean prince, both condemned to containers allegorical and actual.

From From is an extraordinary collection by a poet whose daring and inventive works are among the most vital in contemporary literature.

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A major achievement by Monica Youn, "one of the most consistently innovative poets working today" (NPR)

About the Author

Monica  Youn
Credit: Beowulf Sheehan
Monica Youn is the author of From From, and three previous poetry collections: Blackacre, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Barter, and Ignatz, a finalist for the National Book Award. The daughter of Korean immigrants and a former lawyer, she teaches at University of California, Irvine.
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  • “A svelte, intrepid foray into American racism. . . . 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 Book Review
  • 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. Youn's strongest work to date . . . singular and absolutely extraordinary.”—Cathy Park Hong
  • “The long prose poem, ‘In the Passive Voice,’ is virtuosic performance addressing, among other subjects, the challenges of maintaining racial solidarity under capitalism. Intimate yet expansive, Youn’s poems bring remarkable depth, candor, and intensity to personal and social history.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “This powerful book is, without a doubt, her best. Written during the Covid pandemic, a time punctuated by unrelenting and visible acts of anti-Asian violence, it speaks directly and unsentimentally of racism and misogyny while still retaining Youn's characteristic style; the familiar references to Greek myth feel catalytic and urgent.”—Dorothy Wang, Bomb
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