Dear Diaspora


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
University of Nebraska Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.19 inches | 0.28 pounds

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About the Author

Susan Nguyen received her MFA in poetry from Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Diagram, and other publications.


"Susan Nguyen, in Dear Diaspora, asks: 'At the center of your calamity, what grows?' Nguyen's gorgeously rendered poems answer that question with language and imagination. There's devastation in this book--an absent father figure, displacement of the speaker, a fragmented Vietnamese diaspora, but out of this devastation emerges beauty. The speaker in this book collects broken things such as cicada wings that become whole in her rich internal world. Nguyen's talent is palpable from the first line, and what a gift this book is. In her poem 'Grief as a Question, ' Nguyen writes: 'no one told me grief could be so ordinary.' But out of grief and woundedness emerges a voice that is anything but ordinary."--Victoria Chang, author of Obit
"Dear Diaspora is a capacious and wholly felt account of a speaker's contending with place and memory. Susan Nguyen's gorgeous book maps out the longing of a particular Vietnamese immigrant experience--in its main character, the adolescent Suzi--and also captures, through its documentary research, a collection of voices of Vietnam War refugees in the aftermath. Against a backdrop of love and desire is the search to knit together a place of belonging and origin, rooted both in the sensual world and in the realm of the imagination. Dear Diaspora is a heartbreaking and breathtaking debut."--Cathy Linh Che, author of Split
"'Last night I had the American dream, ' Nguyen writes, puncturing the dream bubble in which 'America' exists as the only and inevitable state of success and belonging. In this collection, diaspora, specifically Vietnamese diaspora, is verdant and lush--suffused with green light, mustard greens, grass and trees--blooming through the drought of American love for Nguyen's speakers. The poems in Dear Diaspora offer us a lexicon we've needed to imagine how we might arrive at and receive one another better in land and language, in memory and touch."--Natalie Diaz, author of Postcolonial Love Poem
"Nguyen's poetry reveals a remarkable embrace of complexity while accounting for the difficulties of complicity, witness, and forgiveness. The final poem opens, 'I am learning how to hold grief/ in my mouth.' This powerful debut attests to that endeavor, and the way in which such work is necessary, beautiful, and full of complexity."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Susan Nguyen has a unique style in which she frequently separates words and phrases--not with punctuation or typical line breaks, but by using empty spaces. Her poetry collection is an all encompassing expression of history, memory, and longing as they come together in Suzi's mind. As with the best poetry, this collection is both enlightening and challenging."--Bill McCloud, VVA Veteran-- (12/13/2021 12:00:00 AM)