Ward Toward: Volume 118

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Product Details
Yale University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Cindy Juyoung Ok writes, edits, and teaches poetry. Rae Armantrout is the award-winning author of eighteen books of poetry, most recently Finalists, Conjure, and Wobble.
"Ok in her refreshing debut uses language to push against the staid edges of the status quo, exposing the tenuous and often contradictory beliefs that seemingly undergird reality. With their capacious perspective, these verses bear witness to the hypocrisies of convention on the personal and global scale."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In Ward Toward, Ok takes language apart: questioning its origin, proposed syntax, and meaning to separate the form from its built-in rules."--Chloe Xiang, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Cindy Juyoung Ok's debut moves through spaces seamlessly--psych ward, hospice care, nation upon nation--and unites them through an impressive articulation of their violences."--Summer Farah, The Millions, "Must-Read Poetry: Winter 2024"

"With a candor bolstered by curiosity and experimentation . . . Ok's poems challenge the reader to see beyond what is."--Poetry Foundation

"With brio and sorrow, Ok's book investigates such subjects as hospitalization for a major depressive disorder, the anti-Asian Atlanta spa shootings, and the failures of romantic and familial love. . . . Ok's métier in this lovely debut is an elegantly discursive, analytical style studded with ironies."--David Woo, Literary Hub

"With bleak humor, an eye for the absurd, and careful attention to the line, the poems offer a window into the Kafkaesque labyrinth that is the U.S. medical establishment, elegiac analyses of racist violence, and critiques of popular culture."--Poets & Writers

"A meditative and haunting debut that confronts occupation, institutionalization, and anti-Asian violence with unflinching honesty."--Poetry Question

"Vulnerable but also distanced, descriptive yet alienating, emotional yet self-deprecating, Ward Toward is a work of contrasts and conflicts. Ok's authorial voice carries a quiet but pervasive defiance that places her as an exciting voice in the landscape of modern poetry. The collection is confident and presents, through inventive uses of form and emotion, new possibilities of what a poem can be."--Erlisa Demneri, Harvard Crimson

"Ward Toward is a piercing debut: a startle, a fissioning. These poems fragment, cleave and cluster, seek new grammars, strategize not for cohesion but proximity, convergence."--Donika Kelly, author of The Renunciations

"Reading Cindy Juyoung Ok's poems is like witnessing the Big Bang in close-up slow motion--infinite collisions of syntax, thought and emotion--pyrotechnic and glorious. This debut volume spectacularly showcases an utterly singular poetic sensibility."--Monica Youn, author of From From

"A delectable, scintillating read that leaps long into strangely elegant foray. In the dwelled, survived, and warded world, this poetic is utterly remarkable and calls for a rainstorm of awards."--Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, author of Look at This Blue

"Cindy Juyoung Ok is a wonderfully inventive poet. . . . She writes in many forms, some invented, and her constant impulse is to break the frame, to escape oppressive containment."--Rae Armantrout, from the Foreword to Ward Toward