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Site design: Skeleton

Inside Me an Island, Poems by Lehua Taitano

Inside Me an Island is a collection of the sediment of displacement, re-placement, and imagined arrival. With one eye focused (inwardly) on an island homeland, the other roving the natural world for what resembles home, Taitano investigates the push and pull of queer migratory belonging. For the indigenous islander living in diaspora, constructing identity in neocolonial America requires conjuring wholeness from fragments. Transoceanic and transcontinental, subterranean and aerial, these poems sift the waters, from shore to reservoir.

Sample Poems by Lehua Taitano

"From a diasporic Chamoru perspective, there's an irreconcilable difference between island and mainland, and between the expanses of California and the accidents of the psychic archipelago, but Taitano's poetics works by queering that distance, by finding the homology in difference, by embracing the synaesthetic intimacies of landscape...As with other Chamoru and Pacific poetics, Taitano's work evinces a strong eco-poetic dimension, especially with regard to the intersections between environmental and colonial violence..."- Urayoàn Noel

"For Lehua M. Taitano, skin is the sharp blur of shoreline, 'lapping aches' of erasure, and becoming. She excavates tunnels through hills, and with 'griefscrawl' names wounds and rivers, punctures and worms. Set adrift, 'half this, half that,' Taitano writes for us an estuary unmoored. In silt and surf, in swoons and swells... she speaks a glossary of the places she contains, 'a swimming skeleton of everything I could ever say at all.'"- Jai Arun Ravine

Lehua M. Taitano is the author of A Bell Made of Stones (poems, TinFish Press) and the chapbooks appalachiapacific-winner of the Merriam-Frontier Award for short fiction-and Sonoma (Dropleaf Press). Her literary and interdisciplinary art have been featured at APAture (Kearny Street Workshop), Kuwenthuhan: A Project of the Poetry Center at SFSU and Barabara Jane Reyes, and 'Ae Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence (The Smithsonian Institute's Asian Pacific American Center). Taitano currently serves on the Executive Board of the Thinking Its Presence: Race, Literary and Interdisciplinary Studies Conference. A queer, native Chamoru from Yigo, Guåhan (Guam), she lives in California, where she also works as a bicycle mechanic.