Karst Mountains Will Bloom
The Collected Poems of Pos Moua
“In the lush panorama of these poems, Pos Moua intuits the body and the spirit’s deep yearning for home and heaven, for nature and desire, for mountains near and far, for a divine love surpassing this lifetime. At the core is an honest grief acknowledging that all beauty must eventually meet its own exquisite loss. Here is the gorgeous collection of a visionary Hmong poet whose radiant language and natural eloquence has given us the dark and light of his heartscape. For this, we offer admiration in return. We hold these poems close and know to remain hopeful.”
—Der Vang, Afterland, 2016 winner of the Walt Whitman Award
“To read Pos Moua’s poems is to be transformed. At their heart is a timeless wisdom and graceful clarity that poets rarely embody, but he does, poem after poem, from mountains to rivers, from Southeast Asia to California, from love to radiation, from this life to the next. With a personal essay by the poet and contributions from the vital and necessary Hmong American Writers’ Circle, this open-hearted book and the first collected poems from a Hmong American poet is a revelation that every person should read. Karst Mountains Will Bloom is a landmark achievement: ascendant, transcendent, visionary. This poet is a treasure and a light.”
—Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate, author of Scars and Flowers (2018)
by Lisa Dominguez Abrahams
Lisa Dominguez Abrahams’ first book-length collection of poems Coyote Logic is a slim volume filled with stories of self-discovery and family, that are a visceral collaboration of feminism, Latinx origins, sensory celebrations, and fairy tale reimagining of our collective human story. These poems track the passage of people, especially women, especially descendants of brown immigrants, and pull at the threads of survival that makes us who we are.
by Randy White
Blood Transparencies: An Autobiography in Verse is a brutally honest narrative of coming-of-age in a unique American family. Told in a series of poetic vignettes, it details life with a father who believes John Muir’s words more essential than the Bible, often leading his “tribe” on harsh quests into America’s wildernesses. The tale is both humorous and heart breaking. Imagine Odysseus returned from WWII to teach his son the subtle art of bone breaking before sharing hot cocoa and opera. This is a family as at ease with nurturing abandoned wild animals as around a campfire rapt to ancestral stories of cannibalism. Throughout the book there is an occasional photographic relic, or Neolithic scrawl to memorialize the breadth of this human story. There are echoes here too, like the “transparencies” of the title, of mythology and tall tales, an oral tradition transcendent of the printed page. Blood Transparencies is a stunningly fresh glance back, far back, from whence we’ve all come.
Reviews for Blood Transparencies
How Do I Begin?
A Hmong American Literary Anthology
Hmong history and culture can be found in the form of oral stories, oral poetry, textile art, and music but there is no written account of Hmong life, by a Hmong hand, passed down through the centuries. As an undergraduate, Burlee Vang experienced this void when he received valuable advice from his English professor: “Write about your people. That story has not been told. If you don’t, who will?”
How Do I Begin? is the struggle to preserve on paper the Hmong American experience. In this anthology, readers will find elaborate soul-calling ceremonies, a woman questioning the seeming tyranny of her parents and future in-laws, the temptation of gangs and drugs, and the shame and embarrassment of being different in a culture that obsessively values homogeneity. Some pieces revisit the ghosts of war. Others lament the loss of a country. Many offer glimpses into intergenerational tensions exacerbated by the differences in Hmong and American culture.
Heyday’s How Do I Begin? signifies a turning point for the Hmong community, a group of people who have persevered through war, persecution, and exile. Transcending ethnic and geographic boundaries, it poignantly speaks of survival instead of defeat.