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2024Poetry

From From

Monica Youn

“From From” is a brilliant collection of poems lush with detail in its meditations on myth, history, popular culture, and art. With elegant precision, a vision both unflinching and clinical, Youn renders a harrowing examination of the self and society within the structures of language and culture narrowly constructed to contain and define—longstanding notions of racial difference and hierarchy, of belonging and otherness, Americanness and perpetual foreignness. From Youn’s compelling use of hybrid forms—the ruminative lyric essay/prose poem, as in the wisely titled “In the Passive Voice,” to the monostich with its thrilling internal logic—emerges a heady and transformative book. In the end, Youn’s capacious considerations of gender, class, and history paint a devastating picture of the landscape that racial politics has wrought in this country. 

“From From” is a major contribution, deepening our ongoing conversation about what it means to be an American.