Monstrous Poetry

Kenji Liu Is Using Frankenstein As A Metaphor For Toxic Masculinity

by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
FROM: Bitch Media

KenjiKenji Liu and I enter a tea shop on Las Tunas Drive in an area that feels like the epicenter of the boba tea shop movement in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley. K-pop plays over the speakers while a worker noisily fixes a hole in the ceiling, and Liu and I have to raise our voices in order to discuss Monsters I Have Been, his new collection of sci-fi–inspired poems that uses the figure of Frankenstein’s monster as a way to reflect on toxic masculinity. But though our location isn’t an ideal place to record an interview, after immersing myself in Monsters’ mix of languages, pop-culture references, and chopped-up texts, I wanted to meet in a location that has a similarly busy vibrance.

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Los Angeles, City of Poets

by Sesshu Foster
FROM: LARB

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailONE DAY, when my brother Paul was 12, he came home wearing a shirt made from the American stars and stripes. My uncle caught him — my uncle owned the East L.A. house we lived in at the time and he reminded us of this fact regularly. He beat Paul to the floor and tore the shirt off. That same year, they put Paul on a Greyhound bus at the old terminal on Sixth and Los Angeles Streets and sent him up to Northern California to live with our dad. After a couple years, Paul was out on his own, moving through a series of hippie communes, Big Sur cabins, and foster homes, where he started reading Allen Ginsberg and the Beats.

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