Dumb Luck & other poems (Paperback)

Dumb Luck & other poems By Christine Kitano Cover Image

Dumb Luck & other poems (Paperback)


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Christine Kitano’s Dumb Luck & other poems offers a portrait of a thirty-something Asian American woman who finds herself living in the relative safety of upstate New York before and during the pandemic. In one poem the speaker reflects on current events (the ongoing pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, the surge in anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S.) and contrasts these with the peace of rural New York, wondering, “Is this / the reward for good luck, just a more / comfortable survival?” The poems in this collection orbit around this question, providing both lyric and narrative explorations on luck, guilt, and survival. Ultimately, these poems delve into how the otherwise mundane questions of selfhood and identity for a gendered and racialized body take on greater urgency during times of increased social unrest, panic, and violence.

Winner of The 2023 Robert Phillips Chapbook Prize, selected by Alison Pelegrin. 

CHRISTINE KITANO is the author of the poetry collections Birds of Paradise (Lynx House Press) and Sky Country (BOA Editions), which won the Central New York Book Award and was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. She is coeditor of They Rise Like a Wave (Blue Oak Press), an anthology of Asian American women and nonbinary poets. She is an associate professor in the Lichtenstein Center at Stony Brook University and also serves on the poetry faculty for the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. 

Product Details ISBN: 9781680033854
ISBN-10: 1680033859
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 34
Language: English
“From Congressional depositions to watching a boy turn circles in a parking lot on a scooter, Kitano’s poems wonder about probability and how one set of circumstances makes way for a bright world of possibility. Sometimes the scenarios shine into remarkable discoveries like recollecting the sheen of a driveway, while others tug the reader inward into the secret and sacred. Each miraculous poem attempts to quantify the far-reaching mysteries of all that is imaginable despite the limitations of the known. These are remarkable poems.”
Oliver de la Paz, author of The Diaspora Sonnets

Dumb Luck & other poems is such a gem. I love the voice of these poems, and their kind of reckless optimism. It is a well-crafted manuscript—the author balances on the razor’s edge of dumb luck and what could be, acknowledging both the world’s perils and the bubble that shields her—at least for now—with good fortune.”
Alison Pelegrin, author of Waterlines, and contest judge

“In this mesmerizing collection of poems, Christine Kitano considers luck, fate, precarity, and power—particularly with respect to the ways in which these elements act upon and impact marginalized bodies. These gracefully nuanced and complex poems braid together moments of personal, embodied vulnerability—for example, the precarity of a young Asian American woman being harassed by a group of white men, the trespass of a woman’s body undergoing medical examination, or the privilege required to survive the COVID-19 pandemic—juxtaposed against moments of bodily violation and violence writ large upon the contemporary public stage, such as Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, or the murder of George Floyd. Kitano deftly unfolds the ways in which luck is arbitrary, lacks sentience, is sometimes brutal, often aligned with power and privilege, and can function as a kind of silence or silencing. These are poems that talk, sing, and shout back to luck in full and glorious breath.”
Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of tsunami vs. the fukushima 50

“‘Is this the reward for good luck,’ Christine Kitano writes, ‘just a more / comfortable survival?’ But these poems are anything but ‘comfortable.’ Both precisely wrought and emotionally searing, these poems ask incisive questions about luck, fate, and being human in this uniquely American moment. This is an important collection of poetry by one of our best poets.”
Matthew Olzmann, author of Constellation Route