Poetry News

Yanyi Is Yale Younger Poet of 2018

By Harriet Staff

YaleNews recently announced Yanyi's manuscript, The Year of Blue Water, is the winner of this year's Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Carl Phillips, who judged the competition, remarks: "As its title implies, ‘The Year of Blue Water’ reads as a record of time, a kind of daybook of observations in sentences so crystalline, spare, direct, and yet offhand, that it can be easy to miss, at first, the book’s complexity." On from there: 

“It is a certain life and not its answer that is worthy of being repeated. Invitation, invocation, request,” Yanyi writes in his forthcoming debut collection. According to Phillips, “Indeed, the poems work exactly so, inviting us into the life they invoke, a life that both argues for and is an example of how identity is multifaceted: the poems’ speaker is an artist, of an apparent immigrant background, is trans, is deeply invested in friendship as a rescuing form of community. Identity, then, as not any one of these things but all of them, each marker of identity at once incidental and essential.”

Upon winning the prize, Yanyi said, “This news will change my life and it is changing my life. It has been an honor and a privilege to be recognized — to have one’s work read, understood, and valued — in the same series that brought me voices that I sorely needed as a young writer. Now has become an even more important time for me to call and write to those who have sustained and buoyed me. I feel a profound gratitude that my book may also reach someone who needs it; that it may give them permission to write, or feel, or think. I feel a profound gratitude for the conversations and community that writing can and does bring.”

Yanyi is a poet and critic. He is a 2017–2018 Asian American Writers Workshop Margins Fellow and associate editor at Foundry. He formerly served as director of technology and design at The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, senior editor at Nat. Brut, and curatorial assistant at The Poetry Project. The recipient of a 2015 Emerging Poets Fellowship from Poets House, Yanyi’s work has recently appeared in The Margins, Memorious, and Model View Culture.

Continue reading at YaleNews.

Originally Published: March 14th, 2018