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American racism is at the forefront of Monica Youn’s daring and inventive new poetry collection, From From. The book’s title is a reference to the accusatory question Americans of color are confronted with all too often: “Yes, but where are you from from?” Blending confessional personal essays and adventurous poetic forms, Youn describes the microaggressions she faced as a Korean American kid growing up in Houston and the larger effects they’ve had on her self-esteem. The heartbreaking “Epicanthic” recalls the schoolyard bullying an Asian American girl faces for her appearance. In “Deracinations: Eight Sonigrams,” she interrogates the language that is used to talk about race and to define Asianness, ruminating on casual racist remarks that evoke white supremacy. Dr. Seuss becomes a surprising central figure at one point, with her writing of the imaginary daughter, Chrysanthemum-Pearl, he invented while authoring anti-Japanese propaganda. From From, a finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Poetry, is a complex critique of how race is handled in the United States that challenges readers to change not only how they think about racism, but how they speak about it, too. —Shannon Carlin

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