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Driving Without a License

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  10 reviews
"Janine Joseph writes with an open and easy intimacy. The language here is at once disruptive and familiar, political and sensual, and tinged by the melancholy of loss and the discomforting radiance of redemption. A strong debut." —Chris Abani

The best way to hide is in plain sight. In this politically-charged and candid debut, we follow the chronicles of an undocumented
Paperback, 100 pages
Published May 2nd 2016 by Alice James Books
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Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What does it mean to live in a country without official status or documentation? The numerous ways in which one manages to hide become a formal dilemma for a speaker able to "forge a document with my eyes closed" and for whom language is a strategy and means of assimilation. Raised in the Phillipines and in California, Janine Joseph uniquely straddles the narrative of the "American Dream," and her work challenges the vocabulary utilized by immigration opponents ("Freeloader Fence-hopper ...more
Luke Reynolds
Janine Joseph's debut poetry collection is a vivid nonlinear narrative of her time in America, both as an undocumented immigrant when she was young and as a US citizen present day. While I feel like Look was a little bit stronger in terms of the poetry in my eyes, Joseph's variety of format and her great language kept me engaged and wanting to know what she would explore next.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These are poems about life and about living with the fear of deportation, of struggling to belong and feel safe. They are also about love and friendship.

Every poem held a surprise of its own. I was touched by them all. The technique is outstanding. Form and content are wedded together to create something greater than each alone.

As I've written before, I have been very lucky this year to read so many wonderful volumes of poetry. I have followed recommendations, from friends as well as lists. And
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: filipino
It was OK. Interesting how not having a visa makes everything in life hard, not just when filling out government documents or job searching. It extends to hospital visits and driving a car. Basic things that most of us take for granted. The only reason why this doesn't have more stars is that I couldn't get into the flow of the poetry and sometimes it was really confusing to follow. But reading it helped me better understand how it feels for immigrants who have not been granted permanent ...more
Josie Smith
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
There were some really good poems in here, and also some that were hard to follow. Those I think were my fault for not comprehending, not Joseph’s, as I speedily read this book in order to finish it before class. I’m sure once I spend more time with her I’ll learn to appreciate her techniques even more.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't think that I read poetry particularly well, likely because I find myself speeding through poems. Joseph's work was wonderful, though--while I did my typical speed-read thing, I would go back and get so much more from a second (and third, and sometimes fourth) reading of each poem.
Jack Reynolds
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school-reads
This was a delight. Joseph makes magic as she describes struggles with growing up in the country undocumented with a few poems that made me think and beautiful writing.
Dianne Mcrae
I purchased and read this book because the author, Janine Joseph, will be the "Visiting Writer" at my granddaughter's high school (Northwest Academy) this week. I plan to talk to my granddaughter about the book and the author this weekend.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Raised in the Philippines and California, Janine Joseph is the author of Driving Without a License (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the 2014 Kundiman Poetry Prize. Her commissioned libretti for the Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) stage include From My Mother’s Mother and On This Muddy Water. She holds an MFA from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston, where she was a ...more