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Hannah Sanghee Park


Hannah Sanghee Park was born in Tacoma, Washington, on May 24, 1986. She holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Her book, The Same-Different, was selected by Rae Armantrout as the winner of the 2014 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2015.

About The Same-Different, Armantrout writes, "The poems in The Same-Different, beginning with a set of gnomic sonnets, tell it slant, then slanter. They are so full of chiasmus, pun, and near-rhyme that their figures twist back on themselves like strands of DNA or a staircase by Escher. They are mirror-bright. This book is a literally dazzling debut."

Park is also the author of a chapbook, Ode Days Ode (The Catenary Press, 2011). Her poems have been published in Best New Poets 2013, Poetry, and Poetry Northwest.

Her honors include a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship in 2013, as well as fellowships and grants from the Fulbright Program, 4Culture, the Iowa Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. She lives in Los Angeles.

Hannah Sanghee Park

By This Poet



Like a frame within a frame the fossil
carried a carcass, a carapace,

and its own casket in another casket,
its own natural sarcophagus.

I never told anyone this story:
in a summer like this I ate a nectarine

until its rough corduroy pit, continued
rolling and chewing it until it hinged

open, and an inert spider, sitting
in white wisp, was inside like a small jewel.

How does a thing feel real. The layers
comprising me are, reductively, soft

hard, soft, an easy sift to the truth
but the hard sell and swallow done anyway.

Nommo in September

There you exist in water.
Unending sketch and erase

of waves on the sea surface.
Today, you’ll be all the words

I wanted to say: look, they’re so
pretty in that second they

surface. You almost didn’t
see them. You didn’t see them.

Sinuous, so commitment’s
a strange shape to hold and take.

I loved the water of you, the snake of
you, everything amorphous and short-lived,

as I expected nothing to last of us.
But when the waves break I still call them by name.


May I master love, undo its luster
do in the thing that makes us lust? 
May I speed through the body’s sinew 
to marrow? Or is toiling a part of 
the gaining of trust? May I pare and narrow 
your body down, and open it to my 
cupidity’s arrow? May I find my 
response to body’s unanswered call, 
(if the want leaves you wanting, at all)?

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