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A Nail the Evening Hangs on

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In her debut collection, Monica Sok uses poetry to reshape a family's memory about the Khmer Rouge regime--memory that is both real and imagined--according to a child of refugees. Driven by myth-making and fables, the poems examine the inheritance of the genocide and the profound struggles of searing grief and PTSD. Though the landscape of Cambodia is always present, it is ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Copper Canyon Press
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ម៉ូ
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This really hurt. I somehow managed to read the book in one sitting but it wasn't easy there were poems that made my arms shake, and I'd just lie down and stare at my ceiling until I stopped trembling. I don't think I can write an unbiased review. Monica and I share the same intergenerational trauma, grief, and loss, so of course her poems would deeply resonate with me.

"Visitors to Cambodia, who wander around
with crushed limes in their sugarcane drinks,
can say people of this country
suffered so
...more
Ming
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This collection of poetry magnifies the voices of Khmer and Southeast Asian refugees.  The pieces here are poignant and bittersweet.   I especially liked "Windfall," "In a Room of One Thousand Buddhas," and "Ode to the Loom." 

I will definitely keep an eye out for this author's future works.

(I think I learned about Sok by reading a piece she had in a recent collection with several poets but I can't recall the title.)
Dana Sweeney
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strong debut collection that serves as both tribute and testament a testament to Soks experiences of displacement and inheritance in the Cambodian diaspora, and a tribute to suffering and surviving under the brutal, genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge.

So much of this collection is about lineage. It is familial, holding in lyric the lives of Soks relatives through multiple poems about family members. The book is dedicated to Bun Em, Soks grandmother, and the stunning cover art is a photograph
...more
Cody Stetzel
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Having just finished this work, I wanted to quickly write about how stunning it is in both its concept and lyric. The poems herein are riddled with cultural fragmentation, belonging and becoming, collapse and trauma, and family. I think of the grief and the bravery of spirit it took for this work to exist.


"Windfall," "Cruel Radiance," "Ode to the Loom," and "Here is Your Name" are among my favorites within the collection for their evocativeness, directness, and images.
Natalie Eilbert
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wrote a review forthcoming about this collection but the tl;dr is this book should be celebrated as one of the best books published this year. Its utterly remarkable. Not a word is wasted. ...more
Carly Miller
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sitting, completely captivated by Monica's imagery and sense of place.
Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
this was/is a beautiful debut collection
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