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Betsy Aoki

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A yōkai reading roundup, books for all ages

Halloween may be over and done, but as winter darkens and the rains bring the gloomy gray, it’s not hard to imagine ghostly flickers in alleyways or wonder at the strange coincidences a new...

Three poetry collections swim in family history and the burden of racist history inherited...

Home, memory, folktales, the forces of history – all of these themes span the three very different books that are the focus of this pandemic-delayed review. Two are sequential Berkshire Prize winners from Tupelo...

100 years later, Yi Sang’s poetry and stories remain fresh around themes of love,...

A little over 100 years ago, world literature was rocked by a 20-something Korean writer whose cynical and sly observations, coupled with a surrealist sense of imagery, upended the more formal literary traditions of...

Through a collection of poetry, Victoria Chang addresses grievance and loss from as many...

Writing an obituary is a difficult thing — whether the writing is being done by a loved one left behind, a funeral assistant trying to help the family post an article to online funeral...
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‘Age of Glass: Fairytales,’ deconstructed for our times

Anna Maria Hong’s Age of Glass, a poetry collection of sonnets (both traditional and mutated), and her novella H & G (a postmodern prose collage based on Hansel and Gretel) go deep into the modernized fairytale in ways that make the two books seem more related than separate.

Korean American poets give personal, historical and societal insights on their family roots in...

Presenting her memoir in poems, Julayne Lee looks critically at the conditions which inspired her adoption – the Korean War, the perception that the Korean orphans would come to a better life in the U.S., and the difficulty of cobbling together an understanding of her heritage while growing up in the Midwest. These poems are very accessible and plainly written – she notes that she wasn’t originally intending to publish, but that others had found healing in hearing the painful issues addressed

Poetry books explore mind-bending philosophy, family tales

Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press) is a book of poetry that begins with a cyborg manifesto and a quote from the movie Blade Runner will always find a soft spot...

Blood Song: Michael Schmeltzer reveals lovely, disturbing truths

Blood Song by West Seattle poet Michael Schmeltzer is a compelling debut book of poetry that explores grief, memory, and sound. The kind of language and technique readers find delicious in their favorite novels...
Tess Gallagher and Lawrence Matsuda corresponded over the years in a playful, spirited exchange.

‘Boogie-Woogie Crisscross’ a heartfelt collaboration

Boogie-Woogie Crisscross reading and book signing happens Thursday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. at The Elliott Bay Book Company (1521 10th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122).

Three poetry books evoke places we know, show what’s underneath

Writing, ordering, shaping a poetry manuscript is a complex art. Assuming one has the right army of words, one wins the right war. Or assuming the cartographer has the right reportage and measurements, the...