a place called NO HOMELAND by Kai Cheng Thom
Winner, Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers
This extraordinary poetry collection is a vivid, beautifully wrought journey to the place where forgotten ancestors live and monstrous women roam―and where the distinctions between body, land, and language are lost. In these fierce yet tender narrative poems, Kai Cheng Thom draws equally from memory and mythology to create new maps of gender, race, sexuality, and violence. In the world of a place called No Homeland, the bodies of the marginalized―queer and transgender communities, survivors of abuse and assault, and children of diaspora―are celebrated, survival songs are sung, and the ancestors offer you forgiveness for not remembering their names.
Descended from the traditions of oral storytelling, spoken word, and queer punk poetry, Kai Cheng Thom's debut collection is evocative and unforgettable.
I dream warm, wet
That rise and tremble and swell with the moon
To give birth to babies connected
By blue-river veins of memory
Kai Cheng Thom's debut spins race, trans feminism, and community place-making with lore and magic. This entire collection has a captivating oral story-telling quality. You can almost hear Thom's well-honed lyrical talents aloud when reading her poetry on the page. —Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life
This is a book I have been waiting for even before I knew it would come to be, and a crucial addition to the growing cannon of trans women of colour literature and Canadian queer and trans people of colour poetics. Thom's poems write the roadmap that trans femmes of colour and queer and trans people of colour desperately need -- one that maps our femme of colour bodies' fiercest wisdom and the places called 'nowhere' by the cis colonial imagination that are the grounds where we dream the futures that will bring us all home. Your white cis boyfriend won't save you from the end of the world, but these poems remind us beautifully that we already are saved. —Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of Dirty Riverand Bodymap
With imagery and word choice that will leave you breathless and aching, Kai Cheng Thom's a place called No Homeland is a phenomenal collection that draws heavily on mythology and oral tradition, gender fluidity and sexual identity. It is at times full of high energy, the words pulsing and needing to be said aloud; at others raw and quietly thoughtful. It proposes a break from tradition and the rigidity of the past, focusing instead on a movement forward into a future of strong women. This is a slim book of poetry that will wreck you in only the most glorious ways. —Teen Vogue
A tour-de-force debut poetry collection ... Thom will make you feel the heartache of narrators who realize the erasure of their identity, but she will also instill hope and happiness as others triumph over their heartache and the wrongs they are victims of. —Ricepaper
A firework display of courage and victory in the face of aggression ... Through her poetry, Kai Cheng Thom offers communal celebration to marginal people and a voice of encouragement for transwomen who walk similar paths. —Broken Pencil
This debut collection by Toronto spoken word artist Kai Cheng Thom is impassioned testimony, fiercely polemical and often raw, on the charged subject of identity. —Toronto Star
In a place called No Homeland, Thom transposes the energy of queer punk spoken word onto the page. The result is a vulnerable, shimmering debut. —Room