A piercing debut collection of poems exploring gender, race, and violence from a sensational new talent
In her arresting collection, urgently relevant for our times, poet Emily Jungmin Yoon confronts the histories of sexual violence against women, focusing in particular on Korean so-called “comfort women,” women who were forced into sexual labor in Japanese-occupied territories during World War II.
In wrenching language, A Cruelty Special to Our Speciesunforgettably describes the brutalities of war and the fear and sorrow of those whose lives and bodies were swept up by a colonizing power, bringing powerful voice to an oppressed group of people whose histories have often been erased and overlooked. “What is a body in a stolen country,” Yoon asks. “What is right in war.”
Moving readers through time, space, and different cultures, and bringing vivid life to the testimonies and confessions of the victims,Yoon takes possession of a painful and shameful history even while unearthing moments of rare beauty in acts of resistance and resilience, and in the instinct to survive and bear witness.
Emily Jungmin Yoon is the author of A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco Books, September 2018) and Ordinary Misfortunes(Tupelo Press, July 2017), winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize. Her poems and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, The Home School in Miami, the Aspen Institute, New York University, the University of Chicago, Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and Sarah Lawrence College Summer Seminar for Writers. She is the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD student in Korean literature at the University of Chicago.
Sandra Beasley is the author of three poetry collections—Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, and Theories of Falling—and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir that doubles as a cultural history of food allergies. She is also the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance, out this fall from University of Georgia Press. Honors for her work include a 2015 NEA fellowship, the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize, and three DCCAH fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program.
Lindsay Bernal is the author of the poetry collection What It Doesn’t Have to Do With, published by the University of Georgia Press, which was selected by Paul Guest as a winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series competition. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Conjunctions Online, Gulf Coast, OVERSOUND, Tikkun, and other journals. Bernal coordinates the Creative Writing Program and the Writers Here & Now reading series at the University of Maryland.