Imagine Us, the Swarm


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
Nightboat Books
Publish Date
6.9 X 7.9 X 0.4 inches | 0.4 pounds

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About the Author

Muriel Leung is the author of Imagine Us, The Swarm, forthcoming from Nightboat Books and Bone Confetti, winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award. A Pushcart Prize nominated writer, her writing can be found in The Baffler, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, and others. She is a recipient of fellowships to Kundiman, VONA/Voices Workshop and the Community of Writers. She is the Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal. She also co-hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour podcast with Rachelle Cruz and MT Vallarta. She is a member of Miresa Collective, a feminist speakers bureau. A Dornsife fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California, she is from Queens, NY.


"Perhaps the diaspora's years and years of movement eventually lend themselves to loss. Leung points to this the same way in which she points to the pain of labor and the American work ethic. Where within this endless movement does one come to learn of oneself? That's the question Imagine Us, The Swarm asks. And as much as the book contends with inter-generational and collective trauma, Leung wants us to remember that its lessons come from a place of strength: 'Part of repair is we tend to our past but also listen to those who are showing us the way, ' she says. Which is what brings us back to the swarm."--NPR Morning Edition

"Through its innovative and galvanizing hybridity, Imagine Us, The Swarm turns us toward a tender reckoning with the precariousness of history and its humming laborers."--Harriet Books (Starred Review)

"In Imagine Us, The Swarm, Muriel Leung takes risks experimenting with non-traditional literary resources to show us the challenges faced by an immigrant family and alienation felt in the swarm. By doing so she deconstructs the myth of the successful immigrant, brings attention to the emotional baggage we carry in our journey, and delights the readers with exquisite poetic language."--New York Journal of Books

"Leung is not in the business of quibbling about genre nor in the habit of swimming too close to the genre wall. This book is a testament to plunges. This book is about sinking and rising, as most elegies are--sinking and rising again."--The Rumpus

"Leung articulates grief prismed by the politics of labor and race, reclaiming who can center loss and value the "arduous labor of some effortlessly seeming toil." If we are going to labor, let it be to point to our own belonging as a fact, so large, so frequently repeated, that it cannot be overlooked."--Entropy

"The most energizing, fascinating, and challenging imaginative demands of this book lies in its experimental metaphors, which do not function linearly, but instead--swarm-like--constellate multiple points of simultaneous reference. Rather than following the expected pattern of connecting tenor to vehicle as a way to illuminate some quality of the described, Leung's metaphors follow fast one upon another in a way that complicates the comparison and challenges the stability of the image."--Colorado Review

"With a skilled hand, Leung crafts exquisite hybrid shapes--beautiful balancing acts of language and form... Imagine Us, The Swarm writes fearlessly and honestly, calling a new future into existence with every word."--PRISM International

"'To write a book is to write into the future, ' Muriel Leung writes of her own fear. But Leung is a writer-explorer unafraid to roam, pillage, mourn, or debate; and Imagine Us, The Swarm is the journey of its own migration, from the ashes of the past to a possible future; both honoring and questioning histories felt, researched, unearthed, corrected. With thoughtful intention and insistent curiosity, and the stylistic fearlessness of Layli Long Soldier and Chelsea Minnis, Imagine Us, The Swarm, above all, an invitation--to imagine, which is to remember, which is to see; which is, 'to be at once [colony] and [alone].' Traversing the pages of this work--its lines and underlines and overlines, its white space and connective tissues and mutability; its wisdom and consideration of everything from zygotes to mothers, to bees and the cost of effort and generational legacies of immigrant families--I am reminded of Adrienne Rich's great epic, Diving into the Wreck; of the uncomfortable and essential pilgrimage into oneself, the voyage to save oneself by knowing oneself, and to imagine living through, as Leung writes, 'an efforted alive.'"--Morgan Parker

"Muriel Leung's powerful new collection renders visible the liminal space of the Asian American, an occupied territory in which every silence, every potentiality, hums with the white noise of other people's imaginings. Leung's innovative poetics implicate the reader in the challenge of forming a post-immigrant self, caught between the competing imperatives of authenticity and assimilation: 'And I am not even legible to myself. Cannot even English my way out.' To hear a new lyric voice emerge from the swarm is thrilling and inutterably moving."--Monica Youn

"The structural accomplishments in this collection are quite stunning, as she [Leung] utilizes a variety of lyric shapes and forms, long lines and fragments, to put together a book-length suite on loss and love, family and story, and what might be possible to learn from all that has come before. This is a remarkable book."--rob mclennan

"Muriel Leung's Imagine Us, The Swarm offers seven powerful texts that form constellation of voices, forms, and approaches to confront loneliness, silence, and death. In a varied range of physical and poetic shapes and typography, Leung creates a lyric informed by theory, autobiography, and essay. One finds in the margins of this book deep dimensional portals of thought that resonate wildly. Wise and inventive, this book leads one deep into psychic regions oft unplumbed. Its rigors are complex and yet a reader feels nothing so much as invited in, and the rewards are plentiful and profound."--Kazim Ali, Judge's Citation for The Nightboat Books Poetry Prize