Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight

This monthly series features poems by women of color in the early stages of their careers. It is our intention to create more space at Perugia for the work of BIWOC, and we hope using our modest platform to celebrate this work will expand the readership of the poets we spotlight. This series aligns with Perugia’s mission to support and promote emerging women poets; all the featured poems will be from BIWOC poets with no more than one published full-length collection. We’d love to hear from readers with suggestions for poems & poets to feature.

MAY 2021 POET: SUE HYON BAE

Ourland

When you immigrate to our land, you must learn our language.
We do not say my. My parents do not exist,
nor my husband, my children, my house,
my family, my country. We are one people. Therefore, 
you must tell me about our mother’s health, and I’ll reply
with our mother’s new doctor. Together 
we’ll manage the mathematical business
of marrying our son and our daughter. Will our family buy them 
a new house in our neighborhood? Yes. We’ll tell our grandchildren
our folk tales. Oh, the tiger is coming down the mountain
to carry away our baby by the neck. Oh, our military keeps us safe
from communism. Oh, our brother has died shamefully, 
so we erase him. When you’ve replaced your foreign clothes 
with better ones, you won’t notice how our tongues mimic
the shapes of our alphabet. As long as we give ourselves away,
we have nothing to fear.

Source

Truce Country, Eyewear Publishing, 2019

Poet Bio

Sue Hyon Bae was raised in South Korea, Malaysia, and Texas. She is the author of Truce Country (Eyewear Publishing, 2019) and co-translator of Kim Hyesoon’s A Drink of Red Mirror (Action Books, 2019). She received her MFA in Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where she is currently a PhD student in Comparative Culture and Language.

To learn more about Sue Hyon Bae, visit her website.