Pleiades Editors Prize for Poetry (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)
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. In other words, A Lesser Love is first-rate, intelligent, and pure gold—a triumph.
Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation
Love, war and recovered testimony from Korea’s unhealed border inform the formal and imaginative boundaries within E. J. Koh’s panoptic poems. In ‘A Lesser Love,’ 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
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