Hailed as “one of the most fascinating female poets of our time” (BOMB), Kimiko Hahn reads from her new poetry collection with emerging poets Nicole Sealey and Charif Shanahan. At the intersection of neuroscience and classical Japanese aesthetics, Kimiko’s new book Brain Fever meditates on the nature of the human mind and her own role as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, and artist in a specifically Asian American vernacular. As Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith writes, “This is a beautiful and troubling book, a marriage of what matters most: the mysteries buried at our very core and the world that cradles and cuts into us at every turn.” You can read some of the poems right here in The Margins.
“I don’t want to end up an old drag queen.” This epigraph by Octavia St. Laurent starts the poem Legendary (2) by Nicole Sealey, part of her series dedicated to the performers of the 1980s Harlem drag pageants featured in the documentary film Paris Is Burning. Nicole is the winner of the American Poetry Review’s Stanley Kunitz Prize and the 2012 Poetry International Prize. Watch a video of her waxing eloquent about poetry here or read her in The Margins here, writing about poet Matthew Olzmann. Charif Shanahan–winner of of an Academy of American Poets Prize and a semi-finalist for the “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize–is a poet whose works ranges from Marrakesh to Zurich, Swiss translation to queer identity. Listen to him at Late Night Library here, or read his poem “Homosexuality” in the Manhattanvile Review.
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Kimiko Hahn is the author of ten collections of poetry, including The Narrow Road to the Interior (W.W. Norton, 2006); The Artist’s Daughter (2002); Mosquito and Ant (1999); Volatile (1998); The Unbearable Heart (1995), which received an American Book Award; and Toxic Flora (2010), which won AAWW’s Asian American Literary Award. She frequently draws on, and even reinvents, classic forms and techniques used women writers in Japan and China, including the zuihitsu, or pillow book, and nu shu, a nearly extinct script Chinese women used to correspond with one another. Hahn has said: “I’ve taken years to imagine an Asian American aesthetic. I think it’s a combination of many elements—a reflection of Asian form, an engagement with content that may have roots in historical identity, together with a problematic, and even psychological, relationship to language.” Hahn is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award. She is a Distinguished Professor in the English department at Queens College/CUNY and lives in New York.
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Central Florida, Nicole Sealey is a Cave Canem fellow and the recipient of a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Winner of the 2012 Poetry International Prize and selected for inclusion in Best New Poets 2011, her work has appeared in Callaloo, Harvard Review, Poetry International, Ploughshares, and Third Coast, among other literary online and print journals. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University.
Charif Shanahan is a Cave Canem Fellow and holds degrees from Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and New York University, where he earned an MFA in poetry and served as a Starlight Foundation Fellow. The recipient of the 2010 Academy of American Poets University Prize, and a semifinalist for the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, his poetry, translations, and other writing have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Republic, the Manhattanville Review, Circumference, Poets & Writers Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the Programs Director for the Poetry Society of America, and serves as the poetry editor for Psychology Tomorrow Magazine. Read more.