Review of Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience
edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond
Middle School, High School    Triangle Square/Seven Stories    183 pp.
3/19    Paper ed.  978-1-60980-907-2    $15.95    ebook ed. 978-1-60980-908-9    $13.99  

Poems as piercing and reflective as the shards of a shattered mirror offer stunning glimpses into the lives and experiences of immigrants and refugees. Sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms capture an outcry of voices mourning loss, celebrating survival, breaking and remaking self and home. “It’s one thing to major in Ethnic Studies, / it’s another to be the reason / for its existence.” Poets who are immigrants and refugees themselves or who grew up in immigrant households tackle topics including racism, finding a place in displacement, the violence of assimilation, and family resilience. “You claim your joy. / You lay your roots: / Blood and bone and fire and ash. / And in this land of the free and home of the brave, you plant yourself.” As readers move through the collection’s dense emotional landscape, they will encounter cultures from around the world, as well as several familiar children’s and YA authors, including Bao Phi, Samira Ahmed, and Elizabeth Acevedo. The contributors all offer timely, and timeless, culturally specific frames for the universal struggle of growing into oneself. Appended brief biographies for each of the poets further root their words in lived experiences. Readers will be gratified to see them — and possibly resonances of themselves — in all their rich, intersectional fullness.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Anastasia M. Collins

Anastasia M. Collins is a children’s literature scholar and academic librarian. She holds an MS in library science and an MA in children’s literature from Simmons University and the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.

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