Author: Shin Yu Pai
Publisher: Entre Ríos Books (2020)
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."