Concentrate: Poems

Graywolf. Nov. 2022. 96p. ISBN 9781644452103. pap. $17. POETRY
Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Taylor’s arresting and powerful debut excavates and commemorates the life of Latasha Harlins, a Black teenager killed by a Korean shop owner following a false accusation of theft—a killing that served as a catalyst for the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles. Taylor’s collection explores, in part, the tension between Asian American and Black communities in the United States, as well as the country’s complex interplay among race, sexual violence, and erasure. The collection also memorializes a young life, foregrounds tremendous care between elders and children (as in the brilliantly moving opening poem, “Arizona?”), and employs an inventive fractured style. “Consider that our ansisters have incredible side eye—the talent of of seeing things they are not directly looking at,” says one poem, and it’s a talent amply on display throughout the book, which utilizes visual and textual collage, time line, historical artifact, and personal story to reassemble an unflinching narrative of honesty, attention, and intimacy.
VERDICT Simply put, one of the best books this reviewer has read in the last 12 months.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing