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In Kimberly Quiogue Andrews's award-winning full-length debut, A Brief History of Fruit, we are shuttled between the United States and the Philippines in the search for a sense of geographical and racial belonging. Driven by a restless need to interrogate the familial, environmental, and political forces that shape the self, these poems are both sensual and cerebral: full of "the beautiful science," as she puts it, of "naming: trees of one thing, then another, then yet another." Colonization, class dynamics, an abiding loneliness, and a place's titular fruit--tiny Filipino limes, the frozen berries of rural America--all serve as focal markers in a book that insists that we hold life's whole fragrant pollination in our hands and look directly at it, bruises and all. Throughout, these searching, fiercely intelligent and formally virtuosic poems offer us a vital new perspective on biracial identity and the meaning of home, one that asks us again and again: "what does it mean, really, to live in a country?"
Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet, literary critic, and the author of BETWEEN, winner of the 2017 New Women's Voices Prize from Finishing Line Press. A two-time Academy of American Poets prize winner and a Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Northwest, Grist, West Branch, The Shallow Ends, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and elsewhere, and have been selected for inclusion in Bettering American Poetry. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, ASAP/J, and elsewhere. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.
This superb collection offers up history--personal, familial, postcolonial, geopolitical, ecological--and indeed the history of fruit, fruit as sustenance, pleasure, exploitable product, as image, parent, love, and wound. There is no eating fruit without decimating its wholeness, and it is this split, especially in regard to the speaker's bifurcated racial and cultural identity, that generates the book's intricate architecture and vitality. These are hard-won poems, fought for, lived through.
--Diane Seuss, author of Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl