Not Here (Poems)
Author: Hieu Minh Nguyen | Paperback
Not Here will be embraced to anyone who loved Prelude to Bruise--both use narrative biographical poems to address queerness and race, and growing up as a gay person of color in a white supremacist, heteronormative world. These poems are as accessible as Saeed Jones's, and as personal, and should anticipate as much enthusiasm from audiences who might not typically gravitate to poetry.
Hieu's self-effacing, half-abashed vulnerability, and his palpable desire for love and connection (both friend, family, and romantic) make for sincerely moving poetry. It's a rare collection that makes you ache along with the author, and feel invested in his happiness.
Hieu is a hugely successful advocate for his own work, and has a robust career as a touring poet (it's his primary source of income) so both his capacity to support the book with readings and his enthusiastic fan base should set the book up for significant sales, at events and otherwise.
Hieu is part of a cohort of poets (including this season's Justin Phillip Reed) whose work is flush with life and who are making a dynamic case for the continuing relevance of poetry as a form and as a mode of expression and connection.