The Magical Language of Others is a fearless and poetic mind grappling with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma–conjuring an epic saga and love story between mothers and daughters spanning four generations. The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing—in Eun Ji Koh—a singular, incandescent voice.
“E. J. Koh intricately melds her personal story with a broader view of Korean history. This memoir will pierce you.” Crystal Hana Kim, If You Leave Me
“E. J. Koh remarkably and beautifully translates the language of mothers as the language of survivors.” Don Mee Choi, Hardly War
“A beautifully crafted saga, a testament to how the most complicated, often elusive truths and inheritances can shape us and reverberate across generations.” Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know
“As a reader, you give yourself over to her narrative territory and the resetting of the borders of lineage, language, and lives lost.” Shawn Wong, Homebase and American Knees
“Koh’s book is a tremendous gift. We’re so fortunate to have this literary reckoning from a tremendously talented writer. The Magical Language of Others is a wonder.” The San Francisco Chronicle
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In A Lesser Love readers find poems composed of “Ingredients for Memories that Can Be Used as Explosives” and those composed of chemistry equations that convert light into “reasonable dioxide” then further transmogrify into a complex parent-child relationship. A book of intimate poems that invites you into a private world, that geography grows wider and more interconnected with each page.
“Unshirking, Koh’s verse is spare, evocative, and gut-moving, drawing out into interludes of clever reflections on cultural place.” World Literature Today
“Love, war and recovered testimony from Korea’s unhealed border inform the formal and imaginative boundaries within E. J. Koh’s panoptic poems. Koh imagines the details of her own CIA file, revises the Pledge of Allegiance, and translates Beyoncé.” D. A. Powell, Useless Landscape, Or A Guide for Boys
“Koh, whose vision fuses American and Korean culture determinedly but nonchalantly, whose distinctive voice can startle as it soothes, and whose invention is a book that delights, disrupts, razes, edifies, and refuses ever to be just one thing. In other words, A Lesser Love is first-rate, intelligent, and pure gold—a triumph.” Timothy Donnelly, The Problem of the Many
“E. J. Koh’s poetry is born from the pain of immigration, the pain of immigrant parents—their relentless labor for survival, their neglected children. Koh is also an inheritor of Korea’s violent history, so her language is crevassed and laced with historical anger, loss, and violence.” Don Mee Choi, Hardly War
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