From National Poetry Series winner Su Cho, chosen by Paige Lewis, a debut poetry collection about immigration, memory, and a family’s lexicon
Language and lore are at the core of The Symmetry of Fish, a moving debut about coming-of-age in the middle of nowhere. With striking and tender insight, it seeks to give voice to those who have been denied their stories, and examines the way phrases and narratives are passed down through immigrant families—not diluted over time, but distilled into potency over generations. In this way, a family's language is not lost but continuously remade, hitched to new associations, and capable of blooming anew, with the power to cut across space and time to unearth buried memories. The poems in The Symmetry of Fish insist that language is first and foremost a bodily act; even if our minds can't recall a word or a definition, if we trust our mouths, expression will find us—though never quite in the forms we expect.