Praise for Salvage: Poems
“Oka writes with one foot in time, the other in timelessness. These poems in her newest collection Salvage are small fires to light the way. They are lit by urgent need. With these poems, we will make it through.”
“I love the mythical depth, the civic outcry, the lyric inventiveness of these poems. But most of all, I love how how beautifully music is made patiently from the sorrow, how a human “holds his breath, secretly / chains to a single note all the mutinies inside him–” A powerful book.”
“Oka’s poems are species of invention and surrender, ceremonies of memory and reckoning. Over and over I am surprised by a diction this lucid, this precise, this feral. No one else writes like this.”
“In lieu of redemption, Oka demands accountability. In lieu of erasure, she demands that we not look away. In lieu of compartmentalization, she demands wholeness. Hers is a rage with deep roots, a rage that drops its ancient branches down so low they nearly kiss the ground and, in doing so, creates a shelter, a gathering place, a home for the wounded, the cast out, the ones still searching, holding within their chests ‘the lie of a homeland as the heart’s rest.'”
JULIA BOUWSMA, read the full review in Connotation Press.
Available now from Northwestern University Press.
Praise for Nomad of Salt and Hard Water
“Oka’s myth-making creates a landscape that calls on nature, the power of women, and the idea of writing and re-writing on the palimpsest of the destroyed.”
“Oka redraws not only global geographies, but deeply personal and metaphysical ones. The official map’s mandates no longer apply. Just when you think the legends make sense, a nomad like Oka comes along to re-inscribe the lines.”
“With poetic heritage in shell and myth, and descended from Walcott and Lorde, these poems eternalize seaside Indonesian culture, and meld myth with the everyday. Oka’s elemental lyric veers and lilts, renders the chaos of reality in the deliberate icons and felt lushness of dreams.”
“The lyricism in Oka’s poetry is enough to split a canonical rock open.”