Poetry. Hybrid Genre. Asian & Asian American Studies. Performance Studies. Music. Women's Studies. It is fitting that we'd present a hybrid book and digital experience for Shin Yu Pai, a poet known for her wide-ranging collaborations and creative practice engaged as much in physical space as a moment on the page. With its blend of personal essays reflecting on the development of her poetics, ENSŌ places new work next to old, to create not only a mid-career retrospective, but a guidebook for poets interested in moving their practice off the page and into the community.
From her early work in place-based and ekphrastic poetry and her explorations of bookmaking, to her current experimentation with installation and projection, this book highlights the creative process to her poetry. The reader learns more about Ms. Pai's influences—the identities that resonate for her—and her thoughts on cultural hybridity, exchange and appropriation. She speaks deeply of how motherhood transformed her views of what is possible in poetry, reconnecting to her immigrant mother's creative legacy, and how that pushed her ideas to better inhabit the world around us. She gives moving examples of how personal and systematic racism and misogyny have shaped her practice, while inviting the reader into a deeper conversation about how a poet writes with and about their community. As a book interested in process, we have included within ENSŌ a second book of Ms. Pai's haiku in her discussion of haiku practice. As with all of our books, we include a wide range of audio projects and readings related to the book. We also include two video animations discussed in the book, "Heyday" and "Puget Sound Driftwood Circle."
author siteaudio @ soundcloudKai Curry @ Northwest Asian Weeklyinterview with Deborah Kalb @ Book Q & A's BlogMary Ellen Talley @ EntropyFred Wong @ International Examinerinterview with Anne Liu Kellor @ The Seventh WavePage Hill Starzinger @ On The Sea WallMichael Leong @ michael leong's poetry blogFeature @ Moving PoemsTyrone Williams @ Colorado Reviewinterview with Shin Yu Pai @ KEXP Sound & Visioninterview with Miriam Sagan @ Miriam’s Well
Shin Yu Pai is currently Civic Poet of The City of Seattle (2023-2024). From 2015 to 2017, she served as the fourth poet laureate of the city of Redmond. Shin Yu is a poet, essayist, and visual artist and is the author of several books including Less Desolate (Blue Cactus Press, 2023), VIRGA (Empty Bowl, 2021), ENSŌ (Entre Ríos Books, 2020), SIGHTINGS: SELECTED WORKS [2000-2005] (1913 Press, 2007), AUX ARCS (La Alameda, 2013), Adamantine (White Pine, 2010), and Equivalence (La Alameda, 2003). Shin Yu's nonfiction essays have appeared in the New York Times, Tricycle, Atlas Obscura, Off Assignment, Zocalo Public Square, YES! Magazine, Khôra, and South Seattle Emerald.
Shin Yu has been an artist in residence for the Seattle Art Museum and Pacific Science Center. She is a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted for a Stranger Genius Award in Literature in 2014. She is three-time fellow of MacDowell and has also been in residence at Taipei Artist Village, Soul Mountain, The Ragdale Foundation, Centrum, and The National Park Service. Her visual work has been shown at The Dallas Museum of Art, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Three Arts Club of Chicago, and The Museum of American Jazz. Her poetry films have screened at the Zebra Poetry Film Festival and the Northwest Film Forum's Cadence video poetry festival.
She is creator, host, and writer of Ten Thousand Things, a podcast on Asian American stories for KUOW Public Radio, Seattle's NPR affiliate station.