Kundiman features CUT TO BLOOM on their Asian Pacific American Heritage Month reading list
Bustle includes CUT TO BLOOM on their National Poetry Month 2020 Required Reading List alongside Danez Smith, Monica Sok, Kimiko Hahn, and others
Interview with Post, a queer online journal, on gender’s intersections with telling your truth while honoring your family, craft, process, and coming out
Blurb & Reviews
What does it take to unlearn the survival instinct of trauma? What does it take to choose our tools instead of wearing down the ones we’ve been handed? In Cut to Bloom, Arhm Choi Wild attempts to forge answers to these questions by navigating the hyphen, sometimes chasm, between the Asian and American identity, between queerness and the politics of belonging, between survival and the possibility of choice.
While talking back to the colonialism of strict poetic form, this book attempts to disrupt clear definitions and redefine the American identity as one that is constructed more by questions than answers. This book celebrates the self-made, rogue bouquet, the taking of what you were given and transforming it into something you could make a gift of, and examines what needs to be pruned in order to arrive at this transformation.
Out of the ruins of trauma grow the strong resilient poems of Arhm Choi Wild. These poems are moving testimonies on childhood tattered by paternal violence, the reclamation of family through queer relationships. These poems are meditations on violence, love, and how language cuts off as much as it communicates. Arhm Choi Wild’s Cut to Bloom is a brave collection of poems.
– Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings, Engine Empire, and others
Arhm Choi Wild’s wondrous new collection “Cut to Bloom” is many things: intimate and expansive, intricate and accessible, knife-sharp and generously delicate. The geographic and emotional territory traversed here is vast, and with Wild’s steady hand at the wheel, it’s an incisive journey. With keen eye, Wild carefully unpacks personal and political histories that the world would rather bury — “a story with no mouth,” as they beautifully put it. From the Korean War, to Detroit, to a present day apartment in Brooklyn, Wild leads us with moving reflection and complicated honesty. How lucky we are, to have a guide such as this.
– Phil Kaye, author of Date & Time and A Light Bulb Symphony
Arhm Choi Wild shows us that when English falls away, what lies behind, underneath, within it are unseen languages and unseen histories—complicated, painful, and beautiful. In Cut to Bloom we get to watch English itself transformed by families, workers, and lovers. The “cut” of the book’s title is—like a filmmaker or DJ—both destructive and generative, a menace and a mending, an in-between space of truth telling and plain-spoken revelation. These poems are a richness and a pleasure.
– Patrick Rosal, author of Brooklyn Antediluvian, Boneshepards, and others
Cut to Bloom is neither delicate nor tidy. “I let English conquer my tongue,” Wild writes, in reflection of a prior generation which had “the Korean pried out / like teeth.” This immense work both elucidates and complicates ethnic, generational, and gender violence, examining women who fight for their humanity against those who seek to silence—indeed, erase—them. These poems escort the reader into a world of devastating yet stunning perseverance: where “being a woman / is the loneliest thing / if you are trying / to survive,” where a mother tries not to “drown in all that she doesn’t want,” and where the narrator struggles with the vulnerability of accepting they are worthy of their own wife’s love: “Fall or agree to a life of being half.” This monumental book upended me.
– Jeanann Verlee, author of Prey, Said the Manic to the Muse, and others
This monumental book upended me.– Jeanann Verlee, author of Prey, Said the Manic to the Muse, and others