Aimee Suzara

Aimee Suzara (Poetry) | Oakland, CA

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Aimee Suzara is an Oakland, CA-based Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer whose mission is to create, and help others create, poetic and theatrical work about race, gender, and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. She has graced stages and classrooms nationally and her poetry appears in her debut book, Souvenir (WordTech Editions 2014), a Finalist for the WILLA Award 2015; and in many publications such as Kartika Review, Lantern Review, and the California Language Association Journal. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Mills College in 2006. She is a 4th season member of the Playground SF Writer’s Pool at Berkeley Repertory Theater. Her multidisciplinary play, A History of the Body, was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights’ Foundation 2015 festival, awarded commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program, Zellerbach Foundation, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCAway Micro-Commission. Her work has been staged at Berkeley Repertory Theater, CounterPULSE, Pangea World Theater and has been selected for PlayGround, United States of Asian America Festival, Emerging Performance Festival, The National One-Minute Play Festival, Utah Arts Festival, and APAture; she collaborated as a writer-performer with Deep Waters Dance Theater in 2007-2011 and with the San Francisco State University University Dance Theater in 2015. She has been an Associate Artist in Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts’, a two-time Hedgebrook Resident, and an alumna of VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation). Suzara has taught writing since 2006 as an adjunct professor throughout the Bay Area and UC Santa Cruz and has led creative writing and social justice curriculum with high school and middle school students since 2001. Author Luis Rodriguez has said, “Aimee Suzara is a deep chronicler of our hopes, dreams, pains, and future.”


Souvenir (WordTech Editions, 2014). Poetry.


Blurbs, Press & Reviews

While the 1904 World’s Fair displayed Filipino bodies for an American audience, Aimee Suzara’s poetry flips the script to question the ethics of the imperial gaze. Juxtaposing the exposition with her own migrations, she paints an intimate portrait of her family amid all-American landscapes, foods, music, dreams and disappointments. By engaging with a variety of archival material and a range of poetic modes (lyric, narrative, documentary, collage), Suzara keeps our attention on the voices, objects, and memories that we hold onto to survive. In the end, the poet asks herself, her ancestors, and us: “What do you brace, so as not to break”?
—Craig Santos Perez, author of from unincorporated territory

We need this book. This naming. This documentation. This honoring. When Suzara writes, “Listen…we / gentle butanding / turned the sea into milk,” a prophetic speaker warns us of the dangers of cultural and environmental loss. Through multiple voices, Suzara tells it like it is.
—Sharon Bridgforth, Lambda Literary Award winning author of the bull-jean stories (RedBone Press).

Suzara is a deep chronicler of our hopes, dreams, pains, and future. Borderless yet profoundly situated, she is the motherjoyscream we must wake up to. We need these poems more than ever.
—Luis J. Rodriguez, author of My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems

“What is a testimonio but a body full of prayer. What is evidence but the salt left behind and the words left to record them. These poems—brimming with the skins and undersurfaces of histories—are gifts sung forth by Aimee Suzara, to listen and to honor both our dead and our unborn, our own blood family and those who we have never met except as fragments and footnotes. What is this chapbook—Finding the Bones—but a reminder to us to suture together our layers into paths to swallow whole.”
—Ching-in Chen, poet, author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books)

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