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What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?
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What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In her stunning debut poetry collection, What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?, Arlene Kim confronts the ways in which language mythologizes memory and, thus, exiles us from our own true histories. Juxtaposing formal choices and dreamlike details, Kim explores the entangled myths that accompany the experience of immigration—the abandoned country known only ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Milkweed Editions (first published July 12th 2011)
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Opal McCarthy
these poems keep thrumming in my whole body, and yes, in my ears indeed.

in deed in down in dawn in drape in mane

read WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO OUR EARS in your sea-bed or mossy embankment, indeed.
Kristina Gomez
What Have You Done to Our Ears is the debut collection of poetry by first generation American poet Arlene Kim. Mixing fairy tales and Korean folk tales, Kim creates a surreal world where family and tradition collide with temptation and danger. This is a place where stolen sisters return "missing some part" and mothers and fathers disappear into the "dark milk" woods leaving orphaned children. "Season of the Frog", a personal favorite, is based on a Korean folk tale of a disobedient frog rebellin ...more
As seen in Gently Read Literature, January 2012

The Woods of Culture:

Arlene Kim’s What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes? invites readers to travel the journey of emigration, through the beauty and confusion that one experiences as they leave their native homeland in order to create a “home” in a new place. One can experience through Kim’s work, a hybrid of past and present, a mix of memory and imagination, and can feel the flickering hint of a poss
“In time of the crises of the spirit, we are aware of all our need, our need for each other and our need for ourselves,” writes Muriel Rukeyser in the introduction to her book, The Life of Poetry, words fitting for the narrative of Arlene Kim’s first book of poems, What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? In Kim’s book, a family leaves their home country for another country, unaccustomed to the new customs and language, but trying to find a place for themselves. Sometimes the perso ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poems

I felt as if I were in the deep, dark woods, on a loamy earth-path, with night all around me, but not frightened--!, just absorbing the richness of this world, the thickness of the words, and savored.
Isla McKetta
I fell for Arlene Kim's poetry at the Hugo House Lit Series, but this book cemented that adoration. For thoughts on how Kim uses line breaks, imagery, and layout, check out my book review.

Familiar words, strange feelings.

This book inspires me to write verse. And string words, phrases. And I also enjoyed the acknowledgements and notes(!)
Arlene is a wonderful writer, and her craft shines in this first volume of poetry. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Milkweed Editions
American Book Award
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Arlene Kim received an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota, where she received the 2006 Gesell Award for Poetry, judged by Major Jackson, the 2007 Marcella DeBourg Fellowship for Writing, and the 2007 Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize for Poetry. Kim resides in Seattle, Washington. What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes?, for which she received an American Book ...more
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