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Some Are Always Hungry

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Some Are Always Hungry chronicles a family’s wartime survival, immigration, and heirloom trauma through the lens of food, or the lack thereof. Through the vehicle of recipe, butchery, and dinner table poems, the collection negotiates the myriad ways diasporic communities comfort and name themselves in other nations, as w ...more
Paperback, 66 pages
Published September 2020 by University of Nebraska Press
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4.5 Stars

This compilation by Jihyun Yun is a stunning collection of poetry which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry.

These poems, stories as poetry, share the experience, thoughts and feelings of immigrating from one culture to another that is fundamentally different in many ways. Language. Food and recipes. The respect, reverence even, for elders. The painful memories of leaving, of needing to leave for safety, the mourning of old ways. Food. Cooking. Culture. Poverty. Abuse. Racism.
Powerful poems about war, refugees, immigration, and above all family. All around amazing structure, language, and emotional intensity. Will be returning to these poems again. Some of the forms were also creative, like 'War Soup':

*Pork Belly
*Anchovy Broth
*Instant noodles
*Hot pepper paste
*American Cheese

1. In eight cups of boiling water, add dried kelp and anchovy, soaked shitake mushrooms and onion tops to make a broth. Grind four cloves of garlic together wi
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

I struggled a lot with this one. I am always eager for stories from immigrants, it's such a unique perspective and truly singular experience - no two are the same. I crave to read about more stories like that of my father and mother, to see how they translate to other cultures and other mother tongues.

I failed to connect with this one, I didn't feel like there was a clear reasoning for the order of the poems, there was no natural progression of the 'st
Andrea Pole
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun is a lovely work that weaves together from a single thread a whole that is both relevant and timeless. The immigrant experience is detailed through the story of food, or lack thereof, as a means to bond and unite and, ultimately, to sustain. These are powerful words of survival, sharply observed, and strung together in a beautiful and deeply affecting way.

Many thanks to NetGalley and University of Nebraska Press for the opportunity to read this ARC.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to #Negalley for providing this book.
This book follows the life of a family from the perspective of a daughter through war, starvation, and immigration. I am assuming that this story follows a Korean family who had to do everything to survive during the way that leads to the division of Korea. A story told through recipes, tales of fictional characters, discomfort, and shame.
I felt how personal this book was. You cannot express such emotions unless you have gone through it. I enjoyed the
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When the first blood releases between your thighs, they'll come. You were born knowing to mourn this."

Some Are Always Hungry is a timeless collection of poems. Jihyun Yun's exploration on immigration, food, family, womanhood, survival, war amongst many other things through evocative words is one of the best poetry collections I've read in a long time.

This collection is filling while making you beg for more. I love how unrestrained the poems were and felt to me. They hit the nail on the head, n
Leslie Reese
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, food
Poems and other recipes of history and inheritance. Love: cooked or raw. Violence and spices. Haunted food memories. Geography of migratory hungers and nourishments.

"Grandmother Praying"
by Jihyun Yun

Bless this December day, so mild we might finally
undress, drink corn-silk tea cold without shivering.
Bless this home and its four corners, the rice in our bowls
though it is infested. Bless this stone-cut family
so determined not to waste. Bless the weevils,
whole or quartered, peppering the grains,
•°• gabs •°•
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, arcs
"Commit yourself to this un-harvest. To the joy of unmaking."

I am completely blown away by this poetry collection, to be honest. I really did not expect to be so impressed because usually I am quite critical when it comes to poetry, but this one... The way immigration, diaspora, womanhood, family bonds and survival are presented is just so... heartwrenching, but at the same time inspiring. The food metaphors are incredible and the way the traditional recipes are woven into the narrative is j
Emily Yoon
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Always love Jihyun's work. I've been a big fan of her for a while, and it is a true gift to have a physical collection of her poems to hold in our hands. ...more
Emily Polson
Jun 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: poetry, arc
"Let me suck meat off the shell
of every animal you won't eat.
Give me refuse, and I'll make it worthy."
-Benediction as Disdained Cuisine

Stunning poems about food and family, immigration and inheritance, diaspora and the dinner table. I set out to read this slowly, a few poems at a time, but ended up devouring most of it in one sitting. I started marking favorites, but then looked back and saw I'd marked half the book. Highly recommend.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An intimate, raw, and heartbreaking collection of poems. Yun beautifully captures intergenerational trauma that so often comes with han, an untranslatable word from Korean that describes the collective sorrow Koreans carry as a result of their turbulent past. This collection is particularly raw for Koreans and the diaspora—especially those who know the language—as it opens up a particular, heartbreaking tenderness and love for one’s Korean identity. It creates an intimate space that, perhaps to ...more
Chris LaTray
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A courageous and startling collection of poems. I'm struck by the similarities in the stories of all people displaced by violence and war. In particular the poem "Savaging" brought me up short, working as I am on the history of my own people displaced by colonialism and genocide, forced into living on the fringes of society, existing on scraps foraged from garbage heaps and slaughterhouse cast-offs. None of which happened all that long ago. This work hits me right in the heart. ...more
Anna Goldberg
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional collection of poetry, meditating on themes of family, diaspora, and culture. This collection synthesizes Korean history, gender identity, and food through its poems, which find new forms in recipes, lists, and family stories. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
Callum McLaughlin
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This collection of poetry is predominantly focussed on the physical and emotional hardships of the immigrant experience, and the ways this trauma can be passed from one generation to the next. The use of language is visceral, the structure playful, and several lines throughout hit me like a sucker punch.

There is such reverence for food in this collection, and I thought this recurring motif was used really effectively. Yun explores the art and ritual of food preparation, celebrating its ability t
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Advanced review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wow. I do not often read poetry, but the synopsis of this collection was intriguing and I was completely blown away by the mastery of Jihyun Yun.

Some are always hungry is a collection of poetry that presents themes of womanhood, immigration, family life and the struggle for survival through the lens of food and dinner time. This is unlike anything I have ever read before, and I was blown away by the heart
Joss Thomas-Wright
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
What a beautiful, painful, disturbing and stunning collection of poetry. The writing is dense, setting it apart from the plethora of accessible poetry that exists nowadays. There is a time and a place for the Rupi Kaur-style of poetry, but Yun’s writing is literature that you can really sink your teeth into. It is not there to be empathised with, nor does it exist to calm our souls or make me feel heard. It exists to make itself heard, to inform me, not to settle me. It is often completely painf ...more
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous collection that weaves personal, cultural and intergenerational history. Highly recommend!
Stephen Page
Note to self: If anyone ever asks me, “How does one write poetry?”, I would recommend that he/she read “Some Are Always Hungry.”
You, you who have been reading this, read the book and understand my note.

PS While reading this book I starved (famished for cuisine and more of Jihun Yun’s poetry). This collection is dripping with savory, sensuous, evocative poems.
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't often go for poetry, because I have to be in a certain mood, but this now only drew me in with the beautiful cover, the idea of using food to describe characters, emotions, events and simply life was terribly tempting.

I could identify with this compilation as I also changed cultures and countries, so it was relatable on a whole different level.

It's dark, raw, real and emotional. It hits different.

I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to read more about family, cultures, immigrat
Mia | The Bookish Feminist
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I hadn’t read any of Jihyun Yun’s work before this collection and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this brilliance. “Some Are Always Hungry” is a visceral, empowered, genius examination of womanhood, the body, and how bodies + lives are viewed and valued by society. I don’t think I can pick a favorite, but I will say that the first poem, “All Female,” was astounding as an introduction to Yun’s work. There, Yun examines the reality that we always destroy the female body, whether it’s a ch ...more
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC! this poetry collection was absolutely stunning. every poem was brutal and painful and gorgeous. i love anything that considers the layers of mother-daughter relationships and this one dug so deep. it’s a quick read but it packs a firm punch.
Fatima Anwar
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Name: Some Are Always Hungry
Writer: Jihyun Yun
Genre: Poetry, War, Violence
Of wisdom, splendid columns of light
waking sweet foreheads,
I know nothing
but what I’ve glimpsed in my most hopeful of daydreams
of a world without end,
—Li-Young Lee
A collection of heartbreaking poetries that speak about war, immigration and their struggle for survival. The poetess has this silent rage and numbness mixed with her poetries which which explores her life as a girl in immigration to a foreign land. Ea
J.D. DeHart
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful words, powerful and raw. This poetry that speaks to emotion and experience. Lovely and literary — I recommend Some Are Always Hungry.
Kelly Thomas
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A stunning debut, such innovation and intimacy. A poet to study and learn from.
Sarah Marie
5 stars. I loved this poetry collection. It was haunting and the rhythm of each poem was transcendent and beautiful. Review to come.
Bernie Gourley
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This brief collection includes poems about food, folk knowledge, nostalgia, women’s issues, and expatriation / immigration. The title’s reference to hunger is most directly seen in poems that take the recipe format as a model for form and style. The recipe poems are prominent expressions of the collection’s central theme – which is an immigrant’s nostalgia for home and tradition. The author is ethnically Korean, but moved to America – a place which has historically accepted those of many culture ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-drama
Provided an Advanced Uncorrected Proof from University of Nebraska Press

I'll be the first to admit that I'm probably not the intended audience for this collection of dinner table poems, but the words and images and metaphors and feelings that resonate throughout each lyrical landscape moved me time and time again. I could taste the food, hear the table conversations, and wanted to help heal the hurt. Over and over Yun builds a powerful microcosm that explores family, pain, and the combination of
Dora Okeyo
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I felt like each piece I read herein linked to the next and so forth until I came to the end of the book.
The author explores survival, war and in a most refreshing way links it to the sea and to food, and that in itself got me because food carries memories and it seemed as though every word written here brought me back to those places, those feelings at that time.
Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
K.C. Bratt-Pfotenhauer
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Freaking stunning.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So good, it hurts. Wanted to give it five stars before I was done.
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Jihyun Yun is a Korean American poet from the the San Francisco Bay Area. A Fulbright research fellow, her debut collection SOME ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY won the 2019 Prairie Schooner Prize and was published by the University of Nebraska Press in September 2020. Her work has been published in Best New Poets, Narrative Magazine, Adroit and elsewhere. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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