SPD is elated to announce that Don Mee Choi's incredible book DMZ Colony has won the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry!

The judges for the category this year were Rigoberto González, a former Guggenheim Fellow who directs the creative-writing M.F.A. program at Rutgers-Newark; Diana Khoi Nguyen, whose collection “Ghost Of” was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award; Elizabeth Willis, whose collection “Alive” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; John Hennessy, who directs the undergraduate creative-writing program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Layli Long Soldier, whose collection “Whereas” was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award.

They write: "Don Mee Choi's urgent DMZ Colony captures the migratory latticework of those transformed by war and colonization. Homelands present and past share one sky where birds fly, but “during the Korean War cranes had no place to land.” Devastating and vigilant, this bricolage of survivor accounts, drawings, photographs, and hand-written texts unearth the truth between fact and the critical imagination. We are all “victims of History,” so Choi compels us to witness, and to resist."

You can view the full longlist here.

DMZ Colony
(Wave Books, 2020)
By Don Mee Choi

"Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi's DMZ COLONY is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Evincing the power of translation as a poetic device to navigate historical and linguistic borders, it explores Edward Said's notion of "the intertwined and overlapping histories" in regards to South Korea and the United States through innovative deployments of voice, story, and poetics. Like its sister book, HARDLY WAR (Wave Books, 2016), it holds history accountable, its very presence a resistance to empire and a hope in humankind."

You can learn more about the National Book Award here.

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