Poet, translator, and filmmaker David Shook was raised in Mexico City. He earned a BA at the University of Oklahoma and an MSt at Oxford University. In his debut collection, Our Obsidian Tongues (2013), Shook explores the violence and hunger of everyday life, steeping his poems in lush imagery and sensory detail.
In 2013, he founded the nonprofit publishing house Phoneme Media, editing over 30 books translated from 25 languages during his five years there, including the first ever literary translations from Uyghur and Lingala. Shook has translated over ten books from Spanish and Isthmus Zapotec himself, including Mario Bellatin’s The Large Glass: Three Autobiographies (2014), Víctor Terán’s The Spines of Love (2014), and Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome (forthcoming 2019).
Shook has produced short literary documentaries and video poems in locations including Bangladesh, Burundi, Cuba, and Equatorial Guinea, and his own poems have been adapted into a short film in Rwanda. He was a 2017 NEA Translation Fellow for his translation of the São Toméan poet Conceição Lima’s selected poems and is a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California.
A longterm resident of Los Angeles, he presently lives in Iraq, where he is Artist in Residence at Kashkul, an arts and research collaborative at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.