In stock (can be backordered)

ISBN: 9781955239370
Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

I Am Minor

Publication Date: February 2023


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Twice Shy was originally published by Nomadic Press.

I  Am Minor, is a simulacrum’s simulacra, a reflection on how one reflects and is reflected through the screen, community and the state. This collection is the result of studying the moving image (film); the shadow against the wall of a cave where a guard determines how much light to let in, and how much to block out with the body. Let these poems be for all those who keep searching for themselves by staring up at the sun.


Ryan Nakano’s I Am Minor hovers into hard questions: what does representation look like? What do we inherit through Hollywood erasure, personally and collectively? Unraveling racialized tropes and whitewashing, I Am Minor moves us through sharp snaps of violence, lyrical glitches, and self compassion: ‘Why are they still afraid of us / as if to say: Are you not / a patriot?’ Nakano’s poems are formally inventive on the page, including Venn diagrams, cinematic synesthesia, and yes, Keanu Reeves. What arises in this beautiful collection is visceral tenderness: ‘Forgive the fish sauce/dripped into the stomach.’
–Jane Wong

In his introduction, Ryan Nakano writes that the poems stem in part from a contemplation of film and representation, and certainly the reader can see this in a poem like ‘Kindling or Another Scarlett Johansson film’. But the poems here find a language that is mysterious, delicate, and brimming with metaphoric resonances that move beyond and beneath their ostensible subject. Nakano’s poems create echoes for the reader that keep moving and do not stop.
–David Mura

Ryan Nakano’s poems are like (1) pouring a contrast agent into the head–into the pores of the skin, over the organs–of the world in order to see more clearly and incisively–and restoratively–the systems/structures/subtleties/shadows that connect yet disconnect us, excite yet exploit us, that keep us invigorated yet vulnerable, enforced yet aspiring to be free; and (2) swallowing the contrast agent ourselves, looking inward …
–Brandon Shimoda

Where does the body end and the soul begin? Where does identity reside and which ghosts are just parts of us haunting ourselves? Ryan Nakano’s I Am Minor begins with an image of ‘the mixing of egg / the whites the yolk,’ enacting the paradox of identity, as Bayo Akomolafe has described, ‘the factoring out and performative denial of our own perceptual immersion or entanglement with forces that generate and undo the boundaries with which we mark ourselves as different from others.’ These insightful poems reveal the self in crisis, the abyss of the ‘I’ that doesn’t reflect the deepest reality of who we are and yet is still the system we are all imprisoned in. As misreadings become readings and creations become judgments, the vantage point of this text is to reveal the Buddhist concept of interdependent co-arising, of interbeing, of porosity, and of uncomfortable entanglement. ‘There are no walls,’ writes Nakano, as each threshold churns out an identity and every ‘I’ becomes ‘another.’ During a time when so many are unable to confront their own machinated hauntings, ghosts become ghosts again in this beautiful, highly recommended collection from a writer who is unafraid to look away.
–Janice Lee

About the Author

© Stephan Gerlach

Ryan Nakano

Ryan Nakano is an Okinawan/Japanese American poet and journalist living in Huchiun, on the unceded lands of the Lisjan Ohlone (Oakland, CA) with his wonderful partner and cat. His poems have been published in Riksha Magazine as well as Voicemail Poems. His debut chapbook I Am Minor came out in February 2023 by Nomadic Press and will continue on through Black Lawrence Press.

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