Human rights activist Pamela Uschuk’s seven poetry collections include Crazy Love (American Book Award) and Blood Flower. Translated into twelve languages, her work appears widely in Poetry, Ploughshares, and others. Awards include Best of the Web, Dorothy Daniels Award (National League of American PEN Women), prizes from Ascent, New Millenium & Amnesty International. Editor of Cutthroat, Truth to Power, and Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century, Black Earth Institute Fellow, Uschuk lives in Tucson. She leads writing workshops at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and is featured in Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day. She’s finishing her memoir, Of Thunderlight and Moon: An Odyssey Through Cancer.
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Refugee deals with refugees of many kinds—political refugees, refugees from racism, from domestic violence, from environmental destruction and disease, specifically cancer—and their stories of cruelty and courage, hardship, and hope to overcome the most daunting of circumstances.
Taking the reader across our country through the varied landscapes of Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arizona, Refugee discusses the nature of seeking shelter. We are all refugees looking for a haven from whatever oppresses our lives. What constitutes a refugee is at the heart of the collection. Poems confront and explore xenophobia, sexism, gun violence, domestic violence, corporate greed, and their ties to environmental destruction and political and economic tyranny. An ovarian cancer survivor, the author also writes about her own courageous confrontation with death. These inspiring poems ultimately call for the reader to recognize the refugee condition as a human condition. They call for a change in consciousness in the forms of action and compassion. They call for the reader to thrive. Ranging from short lyric poems to narrative poems, this collection steeped in rich, sensual imagery draws inspiration and healing from the natural world. Truth lies in recognition of the interdependence of all life. Refugee is an odyssey to find grace and unity in a besieged and divided contemporary American society.
“There is a position in yoga called “the shining heart.” This is how Pam Uschuk has approached her poems in Refugee. Pam Uschuk is on fire. She has carried her song and vision across deserts and over mountains. Witness and beauty undivided.”
— Luis Alberto Urrea, author of House of Fallen Angels
“With tenderness, expansive compassion, and profound gifts of radiant description, Pamela Uschuk considers so many ways people may be estranged and lost in this precious, difficult world. With brave ferocity, her poems in Refugee navigate new vision and reconnection, so desperately longed for right now and always.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye, author of The Tiny Journalist