Review by Grady Harp
The editor of this impressive collection of works by immigrant poets is Abayomi Animashaun, a Nigerian émigré whose poems have appeared in such journals as 5A.M., African American Review, Southern Indiana Review, Diode, The Adirondack Review, The Drunken Boat, and The Cortland Review. He is the author of two poetry collections published by Black Lawrence Press, THE GIVING OF PEARS (2010), winner of the 2008 Hudson Prize, and SAILING FOR ITHACA (2014). He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Knowing well the works of many of these poets (e.g., Jee Leong Koh, Ocean Vuong, Lisa Birwan and others), this book is particularly fascinating. Black Lawrence Press, always in the forefront of new works, has published this collection created by Nigerian editor Abayomi Animashaun that offers insight not only into the immigrant experience in general but also into the manner in which immigrant poets view the US and their reflections on their mother countries an dhow the transition affects their poetry. The results are insightful and extraordinary at times.
All of the invited poets were questioned in several different categories, and those categories make up the sections of this book: Self-Definition, Language, Influences, The Émigré Poet in America, and Third Space. The various response from poets from Asia, India, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East – throughout the globe – vary but also bear similarities that become tender reflections after several readings of this book.
We are at a time in our history where the image of America is changing, and many of those perceptions are shared here. Not only does this groups of gifted artists lighten our vision of the immigrant experience: the contributions herein allow us to look inward at just how we are viewed by the world – through the eyes of the seer poets. Highly recommended.
TITLE: OTHERS WILL ENTER THE GATES: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America
AUTHOR: Abayomi Animashaun
PUBLISHER: Black Lawrence Press