Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Kyunghee Kim, Carlina Duan, & Zilka Joseph

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 6:30pm

We're pleased to welcome Frances Kai-Hwa Wang in support of You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids. She'll be joined by guest readers Kyunghee Kim, Carlina Duan, and Zilka Joseph. 

Please note: masks are required at Literati Bookstore events.

About the book: In the aftermath of a messy divorce, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang writes in the hope of beginning to build a new life with four children, bossy aunties, unreliable suitors, and an uncertain political landscape. The lyric essays in You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids deftly navigate the space between cultures and reflect on lessons learned from both Asian American elders and young multiracial children, punctuated by moments rich with cultural and linguistic nuance. In her prologue, Wang explains, "Buddhists say that suffering comes from unsatisfied desire, so for years I tried to close the door to desire. I was so successful, I not only closed the door, I locked it, barred it, nailed it shut, then stacked a bunch of furniture in front of it. And now that door is open, wide open, and all my insides are spilling out."

Full of current events of the day and #HashtagsOfTheMoment, the topics in the collection are wide ranging, including cooking food to show love, surviving Chinese School, being an underpaid lecturer, defending against yellow dildos, navigating immigration issues, finding love in a time of elections, crying with children separated from their parents at the border, charting the landscape of frugal/hoarder elders during the pandemic, witnessing COVID-inspired anti-Asian American violence while reflecting on the death of Vincent Chin, teaching her sixteen-year-old son to drive after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, and trusting the power of writing herself into existence. Within these lyric essays, some of which are accompanied by artwork and art installations, Wang finds the courage and hope to speak out for herself and for an entire generation of Asian American women.
A notable work in the landscape of Asian American literature as well as Midwest and Michigan-based literature, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids features a clear and powerful voice that brings all people together in these political and pandemic times.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is an award-winning poet, essayist, journalist, activist, scholar focused on issues of Asian America, race, justice, and the arts. Her writing has appeared in online publications at PBS NewsHour, NBCAsianAmerica, PRIGlobalNation, Center for Asian American Media, and Detroit Journalism Cooperative and in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, Drunken Boat, Joao Roque Literary Journal. She co-created a multimedia artwork for Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she is a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit artist.

Zilka Joseph’s work is influenced by Indian and Western cultures, and her Bene Israel roots. She has authored five collections, and her work has appeared in several prominent US and international journals and anthologies. Her books have been nominated for awards such as PEN, ABA, and Pushcart prizes, and her recent chapbook Sparrows and Dust won a Notable Best Indie Book award. She was awarded a Zell Fellowship, the Michael R. Gutterman prize, and the Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship from the University of Michigan.Her new book In Our Beautiful Bones is a Foreword INDIES award finalist. She teaches creative writing workshops, is a manuscript advisor, and a mentor to writers in her community.

Kyunghee Kim is a Korean American poet, writer, public school educator, and a life coach residing in the Ypsilanti area. As a proud immigrant, Kyunghee explores topics of identity in her writing as well as topics of love, grief, hope, and belonging. She believes in the power of stories to bring connection, compassion, and change. Her work has been featured in Shondaland, INSIDER,, and others. Her debut children's poetry book, See Us Bloom, is out in April 2023 with Modern Marigold Books, available for preorder now. Kyunghee writes for both kids and adults. Visit to learn more.

Carlina Duan is a writer-educator from Michigan, and the author of the poetry collections I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) and Alien Miss (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2021). Among many things, she loves river walks, snail mail, and being a sister. Carlina’s poems have appeared in POETRY Magazine, Narrative Magazine,, The Rumpus, and other publications. Carlina received her M.F.A. in Poetry from Vanderbilt University. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Michigan’s Joint Program in English and Education, and works as the Poetry Editor at Michigan Quarterly Review.

Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids (Made in Michigan Writers) By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang Cover Image
ISBN: 9780814349410
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wayne State University Press - March 1st, 2022

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ISBN: 9780358508090
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Harper - March 1st, 2022

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See Us Bloom: Poems on Compassion, Acceptance, and Bravery By Kyunghee Kim, Emily Paik (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kyunghee Kim, Emily Paik (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781735031941
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Marigold Books - April 3rd, 2023

In Our Beautiful Bones By Zilka Joseph Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781952781070
Published: Mayapple Press - August 31st, 2021

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Alien Miss (Wisconsin Poetry Series) By Carlina Duan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780299331344
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Wisconsin Press - March 9th, 2021

Sparrows and Dust By Zilka Joseph Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781564390769
Published: Ridgeway Press - April 1st, 2021