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Asian Pacific American Poets

Lynne Thompson, Poet Laureate of Los Angeles,
collage of poetry book covers

One of the benefits of literature is that it allows the reader to empathize with the protagonists or—in the case of poets—with the themes and issues that concern them. In this period when the country is seeing a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it is useful to see the people of their diaspora, not as other, but as living with the same challenges and joys as any other American. To that end, I am happy to suggest the following (necessarily limited, admittedly some of my favorites) poetry collections as a starting point toward a deeper understanding of our shared humanity.

Lynne Thompson is the Los Angeles Poet Laureate.


  • A portrait of the self as nation : new and selected poems

    A portrait of the self as nation : new and selected poems

    Chin, Marilyn,
  • Afterland : poems

    Afterland : poems

    Vang, Mai Der, 1981-
  • Blackacre

    Blackacre

    Youn, Monica
  • DMZ Colony

    DMZ Colony

    Choi, Don Mee

    Winner: 2020 National Book Award for Poetry

  • Eye level : poems

    Eye level : poems

    Xie, Jenny
  • Further adventures in monochrome

    Further adventures in monochrome

    Yau, John, 1950-
  • Ghost of

    Ghost of

    Nguyen, Diana Khoi, 1985-
  • Interrogation room

    Interrogation room

    Dobbs, Jennifer Kwon
  • Loose Strife

    Loose Strife

    Barry, Quan
  • Nightingale

    Nightingale

    Rekdal, Paisley
  • Not Here

    Not Here

    Nguyen, Hieu Minh
  • Sightseer in this killing city

    Sightseer in this killing city

    Gloria, Eugene
  • Soft science

    Soft science

    Choi, Franny
  • The darkened temple

    The darkened temple

    L'Esperance, Mari.
  • The maze of transparencies

    The maze of transparencies

    Lee, Karen An-hwei, 1973-
  • The undressing : poems

    The undressing : poems

    Lee, Li-Young, 1957-
  • When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities

    When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities

    Chen, Chen, 1989-
  • World of wonders : in praise of fireflies, whale sharks, and other astonishments

    World of wonders : in praise of fireflies, whale sharks, and other astonishments

    Nezhukumatathil, Aimee

 

 

 

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