A Lesser Love

Winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry

Buy on AmazonPleiades (LSU Press), or Barnes & Noble


“Love, war, and heaven all fall within the scope of this ambitious yet unpretentious collection of poems by Koh, the Seattle-based daughter of Korean immigrants. Unshirking, Koh’s verse is spare, evocative, and gut-moving, drawing out into interludes of clever reflections on cultural place.”  World Literature Today

“In the right light, all of these poems contain a glimmer, a conviction and a buoyancy that saves the book from a feeling of relentlessness and despair. Every new poem begins with a cooing excitement, a chance to make things right. Every birth is an opportunity to take revenge for what came before, and a chance to improve those who wronged us. Koh reminds us that the choice is ours to make, every single time.”  The Seattle Review of Books

“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. With acuity and dexterity, this poet leaps into the dangers of the present.”  D. A. Powell, author of Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys

“Koh’s poems unite realities habit opposes: love, pain; the absent, the present; the present, the past; laughter, sorrow; harsh reality, foggy myth; the living, ghosts. 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. A Lesser Love is first-rate, intelligent, and pure gold—a triumph.”  Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation

“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. A Lesser Love is a remarkable debut book that exposes broken love, broken bodies across the sea of migration and history.”  Don Mee Choi, author of Hardly War and The Morning News Is Exciting