In her stunning second collection, Carlina Duan illuminates unabashed odes to lineage, small and sacred moments of survival, and the demand to be fully seen “spangling with light.” Tracing familial lore and love, Duan reflects on the experience of growing up as a diasporic, bilingual daughter of immigrants, exploring the fraught complexities of identity, belonging, and linguistic reclamation. Alien Miss brings forth beautifully powerful voices: immigrants facing the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first Chinese American woman to vote, and matriarchal ancestors. The poems in this ambitious collection are immersed in the knotted blood of sisterhood, both celebrating and challenging conceptions of inheritance and homeland. I browse througharchives full of men and women with long black hair,throwing themselves into the land. thread of grass. threadof immaculate touch. paper son, or paperdaughter. my own papers marked with wings, the pointedtip of an eagle’s beak. here, I’m made prey.I pledge allegiance.—Excerpt from “Alien Miss Confronts the Author”
About the Author
Carlina Duan is the author of I Wore My Blackest Hair and has previously lived and worked in California, Malaysia, and Tennessee. Her poems have appeared in The Rumpus, Crab Orchard Review, and Pleiades. She lives in Michigan.
“A vivid and electric collection that ranges from surrealist alter-ego poems that vivisect the fetishization of Asian femininity to narrative poems that recount the absurd and tender contradictions of a Chinese childhood in the Midwest. Duan offers poetry that is outsized with lyrical rage and heart.”—Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings
“Duan’s lyric emerges out of a community’s collective will to live and insists that poems are made of such legacies of loss, invention, memory, tatter. She finds an utterance that is perhaps vital to her, and is, yes, certainly vital to me. Such a work is a reminding, and such a re-minding is enormous.”—Aracelis Girmay, author of Kingdom Animalia
“This is a stunning book of family histories and family portraits, belonging and unbelonging. These poems are a world I can’t wait to return to, over and over again.”—Safia Elhillo, author of The January Children