First Summer Reading Post: Monica Youn recommends…


The Wilderness, by Sandra Lim


Winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize, Sandra Lim’s second book The Wilderness reads like a master class in parataxis. Her end-stopped lines have resonance and weight, confident in the subtlety of their rendering. They move like stone doors — each seemingly massive, but perfectly balanced, swinging open at a touch to reveal insights that are often dramatic in their understatement.

— Monica Youn

Monica-Youn-2011-Joanna-Eldredge-Morrissey.-Monica-Youn-Wp-Omicron-MACD-11-125023-600x0-c-defaultMonica Youn is the author of Blackacre (forthcoming Graywolf Press 2016) Ignatz (Four Way Books 2010), which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Barter (Graywolf Press 2003), a member of Princeton’s creative writing faculty, and a Princeton graduate herself. This fall she will be teaching Introductory Poetry and Advanced Poetry.




New work from Monica Youn

Princeton professor (and alumna) Monica Youn has published the title poem of her new book, Blackacre (forthcoming from Graywolf Press), in the June edition of Poetry magazine. The long lyric sequence, an intense engagement with Milton’s 19th sonnet (On His Blindness), is also accompanied by an explanatory essay on the Poetry Foundation website. An excerpt follows below:

To stand and wait for the one who reaps where he has not sown.
Mercy sugars the starving soil with nitrogen, potassium, phosphate. Mercy captures rain in silver beads and stitches them through the threadbare weave of cloud. Mercy wields a scalpel cutting a cleft in the lopped-off stump, mercy forces home the rootless wand, mercy seals the join with tar and tape.
To foster the raw scion as if it were a son, to siphon light down through its body as if it were your own.