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By Ina CariñoPublisher: Alice James BooksISBN: 9781948579315Genre: Poetry Price: $17.95
Available from: Alice James Books

Winner of a 2022 Whiting Award in Poetry | Winner of the 2021 Alice James Award

At times located in the Philippines, at others in the United States, the speaker of these poems is curious about how home can be an alchemy from one to the other. Feast explores the intricacies of intergenerational nourishment beyond trauma, as well as the bonds and community formed when those in diaspora feed each other, both literally and metaphorically.

The language in these poems is full of musicality--another way in which abundance manifests in the book. Feast feeds its readers by employing lush sonics and imagery unafraid of being Filipino and of being Asian American.

Feast offers abundance and nourishment through language, and reaches toward a place an immigrant might call home. The poems in this collection--many of which revolve around food and its cultural significance--examine the brown body's relationship with nourishment. Poems delve into what it means to be brown in a white world, and how that encourages (or restricts) growth.

Ina Cariño is a 2022 Whiting Award winner with an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University. Their poetry appears in the American Poetry Review, the Margins, Guernica, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Magazine, the Paris Review Daily, New England Review, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow and is the winner of the 2021 Alice James Award for Feast, published by Alice James Books in March 2023.


‘To be other is to read badly- / drawn maps,’ writes Ina Cariño, ‘to hum / with a revolutionary’s love song.’ I love the vividness of these poems, the language of the senses that’s so alive on each page of Feast. But these poems aren’t just beautiful, sensual lyrics. There is more at stake here. Cariño is a kind of poet who claims family and identity with style that’s akin to spell-making. ‘I dream in a tongue not my own’ the poet says—and we see it instantly: Here, even a simple act of cooking rice can become a ceremony, a rhapsody of liberation. All of this is done not with literary pretension but with vulnerability and honesty. If Ina Cariño says ‘names are spells,’ it is because this poet aims to write actual spells, and not just with the pen, but with breath: ‘I am the last spell, the only song left. deliberate utterance of bone’. Here, we are in presence of something special, I think. Bravo.

Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

This book is not just a sensory feast, it’s a whole literary event—each poem full of candor and heart. It arrives dressed and dripping for a stunning, most spectacular debut!

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

Ina Cariño’s Feast is an astonishing book of poems and a stunning debut. Ravishing in its linguistic dexterity and imagistic layering, this book makes me realize how rare it is to read poems this fully embodied. How is any body meant to live in a world this brutal? And yet. How can we not reach towards its indescribable beauty and sustenance? In this book the body is broken and the body is nourished in equal measure. ‘I knew that much—that breaking can mean release.’ Held in the unrelenting clutches of historical and intimate violence, the urge towards personal and communal liberation is a formal and emotional imperative. I’m so excited for this book and this poet to usher us through such a timely and necessary portal.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic