April 6, 2018

Self-Portrait in a Wire Jacket, by Monica Youn

Today, a poem by Monica Youn, an American poet and lawyer (with education at University of Oxford, Yale Law School, Princeton University!)

This poem via the Academy of American Poets website.

Self-Portrait in a Wire Jacket
by Monica Youn

To section off

is to intensify,

to deaden.

Some surfaces

cannot be salvaged.

Leave them

to lose function,

to persist only

as armature,

holding in place

those radiant


of sensation—

the body a dichotomy

of flesh and

blood. Wait here

in the trellised

garden you

are becoming.

Soon you’ll know

that the strictures

have themselves

become superfluous,

but at that point

you’ll also know

that ungridded

you could no longer survive.


Monica Youn headshotAbout the poet: Monica Youn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently BLACKACRE (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Open Book Award and was longlisted for the National Book Award, as well as being named one of the best poetry collections of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post and BuzzFeed. Her previous book IGNATZ (Four Way Books 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poems have been widely published, including in PoetryThe New YorkerThe New Republic,Lana TurnerThe Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry. The daughter of Korean immigrants and a former lawyer, she was raised in Houston, Texas, and now lives in New York.

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