Sun Yung Shin dedicates her revelatory fourth collection, “The Wet Hex,” to those “cast away,” using a verb to remind readers that abandonment is an action imbued with intention and responsibility. In the formally innovative poems that follow, she demonstrates that castaways generate unique and vital knowledge from the obscure margins they have been consigned to.
As in her previous collections, Shin explores the particular knowledge generated by the orphan forced to reconstruct a self after the disorientation of transnational adoption. She notes, “Most borders make orphans.” In one poem, she puzzles over the results of a commercial DNA test in an abecedarian that formally evokes “genealogical disruption’s (in)ability” in fragmentary lines in which…
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