Topaz Winters’ third poetry collection spans three countries & three generations. In a far-reaching & deftly-woven series of ars poeticas, Winters questions the boundary between the things we inherit & those we owe, stands at the grave of the American dream, & unspools the enormous grace & guilt of being loved.
So, Stranger stands as a fixed mark between the shifting histories & futures of being a daughter, being an artist, & being an immigrant. If its reader begins as a stranger, they end as part of a lineage: one both of grief & glory, of distance & arrival.
WINNER of the Button Poetry Short Form Contest
Praise for Topaz Winters
Topaz Winters’ So, Stranger is gorgeous. It’s a book filled with heart and possibility toward the future, while questioning the past and the present. The speaker navigates the knots of an immigrant family, love, pain, American ignorance, and existentialism. Every poem brims with the possibility of language and skillful and surprising aphorism, such as: ‘Make no mistake: this is not/a story about fear, it is a story about what happens when we/grow tired of/being afraid” and “I’m beginning to understand why, even in/sleep, all hospital parking lots remain full of hope.’ I find myself nodding in recognition, but new recognition with each surprising line. Winters is the real thing–spilling with talent. I look forward to all she will make and do in the future.
— Victoria Chang, author of Obit
Winters challenges the familiar narrative of the American dream and the immigrant experience—’America says I am disappointed in you & I say join the damn club.’ So, Stranger is a close study on departure and arrival, to and from countries, bodies, and loves.
— Diannely Antigua, author of Ugly Music
I entered this book wanting to find a world and Winters gave me dozens. Each poem is so full it feels like its own planet.
— Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck
In the beginning, science tells us, the four fundamental forces of the universe were one—a single force encompassing all possible energies. Reading Topaz Winters’ poems, I was reminded of this fact—in her work, heritage and politics, intelligence and ardor fuse in an intensity both incandescent and compelling. Sparks fly, while a human hand reaches for another. A dazzling and a deeply moving collection.
— Monica Youn, author of Blackacre