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Updated: Jun 4




Tapirus Indicus . . . Dugong Dugon . . . Cicadoidea . . .


Of the Florids begins with an inability to speak of the natural world in the urban fortress of Singapore; a tropical island’s fading romanticism for a city boy. Unrooting the lyricism of an archive that sprawls across natural history drawings ordered by British colonists, wartime reports on animals in Japan, queer myths of the Rabbit God and the miracles of modern landscaping—the book teems with its own polyphonic, multispecies world where place can once again be enchanted. The map of the Florids start to materialise and grow like a defiant root system: even as it feeds on the soil of history, it too speculates and twists according to its own ebullient, baroque music.










Praise


"If poetry be that sly accomplice to taxonomy, its fall guy, its wingman, its muse, then what a bird of a book Of the Florids is—meaning it makes a ruckus, ruffles our feathers, and unlocks the cage that is language so that we might be set free. What a wild, worldly, ravishing collection this is!"

—LAWRENCE LACAMBRA YPIL, author of The Experiment of the Tropics


"In this sequence of erudite and startlingly lucid poems, Shawn Hoo asks us to behold the gulf between knowledge systems and the slipperiness of visual representations and mental events. He presents scenes from the writing of natural history in archipelagic Southeast Asia, opening them up on the bench, as it were, to examine the vital organs of language, memory, power, and desire, still very much alive within them. It seems to me that each poem operates like a small machine whittling down the raw material of history into something like a razor. But the effect is not one of reduction or spareness. Hoo’s thematizations of nonhuman life—indeed, that which is unseen and speculated upon—sparkle like new instruments for inquiry and imagination. I felt transformed, after encountering the referentiality and mystery of this set of poems, into a kind of early-modern florilegium, upon which the wisdom of multiple botanical, aqueous, and geological realms have been impressed."

—SAMUEL LEE, author of A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore


"Hoo drops language into the caldron of natural history, causing it to overflow into complicit etymologies and complex heredities. With close, yet inventive, attention to the animal, insect, and plant life of his home, Singapore, and its surrounding Southeast Asia, all always at the mercy of the human, Hoo turns natural history inside-out to reveal its entirely human construction. Focused on the intersection of history and ecology, this compelling work acts as a call to responsibility."

—COLE SWENSEN, author of Art in Time and On Walking On


"Shawn Hoo’s Of the Florids showcases the interception of hyperactive language and concepts. These ambitious poems are like a turnstile that refuses to remain still. History, the body, cultures, the pastoral, the urban: poems in this collection glitter and make their mark in these thematic trajectories. 'The florids are the sparring grounds of rootless epics,' as Hoo’s words turn into futuristic architectures erecting in a challenging reality no one quite knows how has come into being."

—NICHOLAS WONG, author of Besiege Me and Crevasse




OF THE FLORIDS is now available for preorder through the Diode Editions catalog.



About the Author


Shawn Hoo is a writer and editor from Singapore. His poems are anthologised in New Singapore Poetries (Gaudy Boy, forthcoming) and can be found in New Delta Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Queer Southeast Asia, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, OF ZOOS, and elsewhere. His translations appear in the Journal of Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA) and Exchanges: Journal of Literary Translation. He is Assistant Editor at Asymptote, where he curates the Translation Tuesdays showcase. Shawn received his BA in Literature from Yale-NUS College and a fellowship at NYU Shanghai. Of the Florids, a five-time contest finalist which won the 2021 Diode Editions Chapbook Prize, is his debut chapbook.


@hycshawn / shawnhoo.wordpress.com






Through pointed letters, questions, and deep-dives into the personal realities of the poet’s life, Sajé creates a space for digging, investigating, looking to understand...

Read the full review by Finnegan Angelos on Sundress Reads


About the Author of Special Delivery


Natasha Sajé is the author of three books of poems including Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014); a postmodern poetry handbook (Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, Michigan, 2014); and a memoir-in-essays, Terroir: Love, Out of Place (Trinity UP, 2020). She teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program.




 



Diode is pleased to share that Dr. Joey S. Kim and Conor Bracken are two of five finalists for the Ohioana Book Award in the poetry category for their debut works: Body Facts and The Enemy of My Enemy is Me.


The 2022 poetry finalists are:

Ahn, E. Yetunde, née Emily Spencer. East Walnut Hills, Zone 3 Press


Bracken, Conor. The Enemy of My Enemy is Me, Diode Editions


Iris, Manuel. The Parting Present / Lo que se irá, Dos Madres Press


Kim, Joey S. Body Facts, Diode Editions


Zamora, Felicia. I Always Carry My Bones, University of Iowa Press


The winners will be announced in July. The 2022 Ohioana Awards ceremony will be held at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Wednesday, October 26.


From the Ohioana Library press release—


First given in 1942, the awards are the second-oldest state literary prizes in the nation and honor outstanding works by Ohio authors and illustrators in five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Juvenile Literature, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Nonfiction. The sixth category, About Ohio or an Ohioan, may also include books by non-Ohio authors.

This year’s stellar list includes a Pulitzer Prize winner, three finalists for the National Book Award, a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist, and winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Honors, and the Kirkus Prize. Four finalists have had their works adapted for film and television. Eight authors are previous Ohioana Book Award winners and two are past recipients of Ohioana’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant for emerging writers.

Beginning June 1, Ohioana will profile all the finalists with “30 Books, 30 Days,” a special feature on our social media in which one finalist is highlighted each day. Later in June, Ohioana will launch its seventh Readers’ Choice Award poll, allowing the public to vote online for their favorite book from the finalists.

About the Authors


Joey S. Kim is a scholar, creative writer, and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toledo. Her poetry ventures through Korean history, the feminine body, U.S. foreign policy, and coming-of-age in midwestern America. She researches nineteenth-century global Anglophone literature and poetics. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Pleiades: Literature in Context, Burningword Literary Journal, Essays in Romanticism, and elsewhere. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for her poem "Plunder," a poem in her debut chapbook of poems, Body Facts, and first published in Pleiades.


Conor Bracken is the author of Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), selected by Diane Seuss as winner of the fifth annual Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, 2019). His poems and translations have earned fellowships from Bread Loaf, the Community of Writers, the Frost Place, Inprint, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. An assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review, he currently teaches English at the University of Findlay, and lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter, and dog.


 


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