* Winner of the Headmistress Press Charlotte Mew Prize
This collection is quiet in its transformations-both imagined and radically real-as the speaker allows us to understand different ways in which "love has gone and left [us]." The images that cypher throughout the manuscript-Blue Mosques, Persian seaweed, the song of the muezzin, goats left bleeding in the street-ally themselves with literary allusions from Millay and Dickinson to Zafon and Stein to create a new oeuvre of sound, voice, and color that is wholly the poet's own making. At once melancholy and defiant, On Loving a Saudi Girl wakes some of the most difficult, buried truths of what it is to "love in silence, with deeds and not with words," creating new ways for the reader to surrender again and again until surrender is made new.
-Meg Day, Judge of the Charlotte Mew Prize
Between East and West, both lovesick and at a loss, the innovative lyrics of Carina Yun's On Loving a Saudi Girl pronounce what-for this poet-has been forbidden, dangerous. "The brittle Black Sea is more than I can bear," the poet writes. Reading Yun's poems is not a casual exercise. The work is rooted in necessity, the necessity to uncover a world where the many dimensions of love coexist.
Carina Yun's debut chapbook, On Loving a Saudi Girl, is an enthralling sequence of intimate lyrics-gorgeous poems of love, longing, and loss. Interleaved among letters home, song-like addresses to Millay, Dickinson, and Stein, dreams and nightmares, we hear the rush of the Marmara Sea, the muzzein's calls to prayer, the traffic and trams of urban Istanbul, and the clatter of hail on a Stockton street. Yun's work pays rapt, word-wise attention to what living feels like. These are startling, memorable poems.
Carina Yun's poems map a landscape where travel and a love of place merge with the loss of an erotic obsession. It's a startling distillation of sensual experience-bodily, grieving, joyful. This is a wonderful debut.
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