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If life is but a series of contiguous movements, Careen investigates the reasons one might momentarily lose all control and fall out of line. What is the nature of a desire? What are the consequences of uninhibited longing? How do we come to terms with the systematic conditions and lineages tethered our individual lives? Any hunger for inclusion calls back to a long history of displacement. Then, “eventually, every color careens into its own lack,” and the carte blanche of whiteness that envelopes a racialized nation is deftly overturned. On a journey in search for a home, Careen is a love note plunging headlong into its objects of unattainable desire.
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 statelessness. Here dreams are real, and worlds careen refracted in and across time. Go for the ride.
author of Swallow The Fish
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.
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.
author of Sheep Machine, Umbilical Hospital, and The Old Philosopher