Sharp in their vulnerability, the poems in Grace Shuyi Liew’s Careen are injurious wounds, moving through a cavernous politics, breaking off, turning in, and restructuring memory as scaffolding, pain as terrifying recurrence. This work is jolting in its refusal to reign in its rageful grief. Shuyi Liew disarms language in order to disarm us, leaving us little room burrow in our fear.
—Raquel Salas Rivera, 2018-2019 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia
Careen is a battlefield of conflicting desires, a place where words are dragged from the liminal engine of Grace’s ‘kinetically charged’ soul into the broad daylight of racial politics. A place where it’s impossible to dodge the inevitable bullets aimed at whiteness and its whitened landscape. Her work swells with infinite breast songs shaped to evoke and choke all exit doors towards a place where poetry doesn’t exist as an aftermath. Her poetry is designed to stay current, to enrapture, and also a place to “reveal [her] private galaxy of bruises.” Are her words bruises? Grace’s Careen will drape a white sheet over you.
— Vi Khi Nao, author of Sheep Machine, Umbilical Hospital, and The Old Philosopher
To whom do you give the potential to seize the whole space of you?” Grace Shuyi Liew, of course. She brings it all: fairy tales and video games, fetish, sex, and politics, perennial mothers and daughters jumping off cliffs, global cities and statelessnesss. Here dreams are real, and worlds careen refracted in and across time. Go for the ride.
— Gabrielle Civil, author of Swallow The Fish & Experiments in Joy
- Read Annie Won’s review of PROP for American Micro Reviews.
- Listen to Muriel Leung interview me in this podcast for Blood-jet Writing Hour.
- Read Michelle Lewis’s review of PROP and INTERLUDES for Drunken Boat.
‘After years, months, days of assurances pouring in/from all over the realms,’ Grace Shuyi Liew writes in PROP, ‘the sisters/finally embrace their nationlessness’—and yet by the time the reader finishes this chapbook, she feels she has witnessed a rogue state, an Ur-state, and seen the way in which a plurality of bodies—even if only two—can become Law, Custom, Historicity, the Body Politic beautifully tailed and smelling of citronella. This is a deft and assured sequence, and I look forward to reading Liew’s work for years to come.
— Kerri Webster, judge for Ahsahta Chapbook Prize 2016
The poems in Book of Interludes discern the guts of a thing, the qualities of the body with “postcolonial tan lines.” Grace Shuyi Liew grapples with the alienation of our physical postures throughout her lithe and rhetorically capacious lines. These poems say: “Nothing that comes out of / Me is an accident.” These poems speak to the coherence of bodies that are flung onto a faulty framework and then requested to speak and be. Bodies matter, and so does every word, and so does the inescapable grid of power that permeates these ferociously smart and lyrically unflinching poems. “What you have stolen I don’t even want anymore,” they say. Instead, “Do you: Carry murder in yourself?
— Ginger Ko, author of Motherlover, Comorbid, and Inherit
‘I wear my body as infiltration’ announces Grace Shuyi Liew, fusing erotics with geo-political, transborder resistance. The radical, unflinching ‘I’ of these poems shines ‘like a sun that desiccates rather than animates,’ searing the symbology of systemic horrors into a map of private, locatable griefs. The intelligence here is wickedly formidable, flexing and extinguishing itself, refusing to channel its own sense of embodied damage and colonization into narratives of redemption or rapture. These poems ask us ‘To un-see, to pre-see, to march / latent cognition into / an unmarked grave.’ I’m thrilled to relinquish my sight to these marvelous poems that speak from the place where ‘the sky turned over and vanished us.’
— Lara Glenum, author of The Hounds of No, Maximum Gaga, Pop Corpse, and All Hopped Up On Fleshy Dumdums