Synopses & Reviews
In this timely, assured collection, Tina Chang confronts the complexities of raising a mixed-race child during an era of political upheaval in the United States. She ruminates on the relationship between her son's blackness and his safety, exploring the dangers of childhood in a post-Trayvon Martin era and invoking racialized roles in fairy tales. Against the stark urban landscapes of threat and surveillance, Chang returns to the language of mothers.
Meditating on the lives of Michael Brown, Leiby Kletzky, and Noemi Álvarez Quillay — lost at the hands of individuals entrusted to protect them — Chang creates hybrid poetic forms that mirror her investigation of racial tensions. Through an agile blend of zuihitsu, ghazal, prose poems, mosaic poems, and lyric essays, Hybrida envisions a childhood of mixed race as one that is complex, emotionally wrought, and often vulnerable. Hybrida is a twenty-first-century tale that is equal parts a mother's love and her fury, an ambitious and revelatory exploration of identity that establishes Tina Chang as one of the most vital voices of her generation.
“I find myself reading [Hybrida] with my heart in my throat ― having to remember to swallow. Tina Chang’s grace and ferocity in the face of what it means to mother a brown boy, to raise brown children in this particular moment in time, is everything so many of us ― until now ― didn’t have the words for.”
Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
“A beautiful meditation of home and hope and hurt... There's an earned gentleness to [Chang's] lines ― call them inspirational (imagine it: a poem can make us love each other better!). Hybrida is a song of love, and creation myths; or perhaps they are our creation truths.” The Millions
“[Tina Chang's] eloquence meets a mother's ferocity channeling the experience of parenting mixed-race black children in the current cultural climate... She tears apart categories that would define her kids into harm and she rages with a power that will have readers weeping and shouting.” O Magazine
“One of the most important books of poetry to come along in years... With equal parts hope and terror, and no self-delusion, this book summons the kind of love only the imagination can sustain; Chang writes to, and for [her son] Roman, praying that his pure being will transcend the millions of gazes that will try to define his life by his skin color.” NPR
About the Author
Tina Chang is the Poet Laureate of Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her family. She is the author of two previous collections of poetry — including Half-Lit Houses, a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award — and coeditor of the seminal anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. The recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, and Poets & Writers, among other honors, Chang teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College.