SOUVENIR – by Aimee Suzara
View a complete press kit about the SOUVENIR book tour and past workshop offerings here: Suzara 2013-4 Press Kit.
In this compelling debut book by Aimee Suzara, a Filipino-American woman encounters narratives of her history – from the “living exhibits” of Filipinos in the 1904 World’s Fair to the migration of her family across seas and continents to the Wild West. The poems consider what souvenirs are kept as histories are buried, found and reinvented.
While the 1904 World’s Fair displayed Filipino bodies for an American audience, Aimee Suzara’s poetry flips the script to question the ethics of the imperial gaze. Juxtaposing the exposition with her own migrations, she paints an intimate portrait of her family amid all-American landscapes, foods, music, dreams and disappointments. By engaging with a variety of archival material and a range of poetic modes (lyric, narrative, documentary, collage), Suzara keeps our attention on the voices, objects, and memories that we hold onto to survive. In the end, the poet asks herself, her ancestors, and us: “What do you brace, so as not to break”?
– Craig Santos Perez, author of from unincorporated territory
We need this book. This naming. This documentation. This honoring. When Suzara writes, “Listen…we / gentle butanding / turned the sea into milk,” a prophetic speaker warns us of the dangers of cultural and environmental loss. Through multiple voices, Suzara tells it like it is.
– Sharon Bridgforth, Lambda Literary Award winning author of the bull-jean stories, RedBone Press.
Suzara is a deep chronicler of our hopes, dreams, pains, and future. Borderless yet profoundly situated, she is the motherjoyscream we must wake up to. We need these poems more than ever.
–Luis J. Rodriguez, author of My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems