In these hybrid poems, Jessica Q. Stark explores her mother's fraught immigration to the United States from Vietnam at the end of war through the lens of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale.Told through personal, national, and cultural histories, Buffalo Girl is a feminist indictment of the violence used to define and control women's bodies. Interspersed throughout this hybrid work are a series of collaged photographs, featuring Stark's mother's black-and-white photography from Vietnam beautifully and hauntingly layered over various natural landscapes - lush tropical plants, dense forests, pockets of wildflowers. Several illustrations from old Red Riding Hood children's books can also be found embedded into these pieces. Juxtaposing the moral implications of Little Red Riding Hood with her mother's photography, Stark creates an image-text conversation that attends to the wolves lurking in the forests of our everyday lives. Opening the whispered frames around sexuality and sex work, immersed in the unflattering symptoms of survival, Buffalo Girl burgeons with matrilineal love and corporeal rage while censuring the white gaze and the violence enacted through the English language. Here is an inversion of diasporic victimhood. Here is an unwavering attention to the burdens suffered by the women of this world. Here is a reimagination, a reclamation, a way out of the woods.
About the Author
Jessica Q. Stark is the author of two full-length poetry manuscripts as well as four poetry chapbooks, including her most recent RENDER (2022). Stark's first poetry manuscript, The Liminal Parade, was selected by Dorothea Lasky for the Double Take Grand Prize in 2016 and her full length poetry collection titled, Savage Pageant was named one of the "Best Books of 2020" in The Boston Globe and in Hyperallergic. Her poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Poetry Society of America, Pleiades, Carolina Quarterly, Poetry Daily, The Southeast Review, Verse Daily, and Tupelo Quarterly. Stark is a California-native, mixed race Vietnamese American poet, editor, and educator that lives in Jacksonville, Florida. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley and dual MA Degrees in English Literature and Cultural Studies from Saint Louis University's Madrid Campus. She received her PhD in English from Duke University. She currently serves as a Poetry Editor for AGNI and the Hybrid Editor for Honey Literary.