Pier

Winner of the 2010 Kundiman Poetry Prize

“As if through an echolocation of brilliant and insistent off-rhyme, these poems effect a delicate placement of self into body, body into world, world into word. And at the center of it all is even more delicate loss.  Oshiro’s Pier takes its measure in precise instances that ache with intelligence. A truly masterful first book.”

—Cole Swensen

“Who can whisper in the spare dark and still be heard in the greater stillness? Only a poet who bets everything on spirit and the ability of language to outline that spirit. In prose honed to home and verse like stones skipping on the surface of water, who can tell where this wonderfully quiet and haunting book will lead? Not where you would ever think: “Everywhere is a potential/exit, except the door.” In a virtuosic range of approaches to line, image and poem, Janine Oshiro makes a unique new music.”

—Kazim Ali

“The poems in Pier refuse to privilege poetic craft over intensity of feeling, landscape over interiority, the mundane over the fabular, stoicism over grief. Instead, they have it all–or rather, they emerge from the spaces between contending states:  ‘It came out in a child’s hand and I was/ not a child.’  Oshiro’s is a new voice of antique resonances, born of an anxious apprenticeship to beauty and to pain.”

—Mark Levine

Pier is now available from Alice James Books and Amazon.

Learn more about the Kundiman Poetry Prize.