How Do I Look?

Sennah Yee

It is beautiful because it has nothing to do with you.

 

Through a series of short vignettes, Sennah Yee’s debut full-length book How Do I Look? paints a colourful portrait of a woman both raised and repelled by the media. With pithy, razor-sharp prose, Sennah dissects and reassembles pop culture through personal anecdotes, crafting a love-hate letter to the media and the microaggressions that have shaped how she sees herself and the world. How Do I Look? is a raw and vulnerable reflection on identities real and imagined.

 

Sennah Yee was born in 1992 in Toronto, Canada. She writes poetry, writes about films, and writes poetry about films. Her two chapbooks about mopey couples, THE AQUARIUM and THE GL.A.DE, are at Dancing Girl Press. She is the Arts Editor at Shameless, a magazine for young women and trans youth, and Co-Editor and Contributor to The Fuck of the Century, a web-based pop culture journal. She is also a PhD student in Cinema & Media Studies at York University, focusing her research on gender dynamics in female robots.

First edition, second printing

84 pages

Perfect-bound

Cover art | Christine Shan Shan Hou

ISBN | 978-1-988355-08-5

Blurbs


 

“In Yee's poetry, whole worlds, multiple worlds, can live in just a few sentences, and countless people and histories can exist within one person's body. It almost makes reading full novels feel silly when you can live a whole life in just one of Yee's paragraphs.”

Mitskipop star

 

"Sennah Yee's How Do I Look? is a selfie through a webcam in the compact mirror tossed over the shoulder of a nightswimmer into a suburban chlorine pool. These poems are the hit radio lyrics that roll around in the mind before falling asleep, the silently crafted love poems for an unrequited crush written on a blog saved in drafts, the emails sent to one's future self opened at a karaoke bar years later in another country. How Do I Look? made me look back and get home safe. I look in the rear view mirror to find flowers growing out of me."

- Stacey Tran, author of Soap for the Dogs

 

"Sennah Yee has written a book full of wit and fire. This is a work to read and reread. The individual pieces build on each other to reveal the fractured self beneath and the ways the Western world fractures people who 'look like Mulan.' A fierce new literary voice. Don't miss this one."

- Matthew Salesses, author of The Hundred-Year Flood

 

"At first glance, it might not seem as if How Do I Look? is about survival. But in each of these brief vignettes, Sennah Yee is tested over & over again by white supremacy, racism, fetishization, heteronormativity & all the other worst parts of Western culture that constantly deluge the screens & scenes of our upbringing. And yet, Sennah Yee survives every microaggression. Sennah Yee has teflon in her blood & How Do I Look? is sparkling sunset over Liberty City & absolute proof that she is bulletproof."

- Mark Cugini, author of I’m Just Happy To Be Here

 

 

 

 

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Press


 

LIST | CBC Books | Your ultimate Canadian poetry list

 

REVIEW | Broken Pencil | "To read Yee's poetry feels intimate. In small vignettes written in prose poetry, it captures what it means to live in a body that is distorted by the tensions of visibility and invisibility."

 

REVIEW | Winter Tangerine | "A quietly radical book, relentless in its unveiling of how pain is wrapped up in representation and visibility, and in its search for healing and freedom.”

 

REVIEW | Montreal Review of Books | “A poetry that can best be described as Seidel meets Bashō, meets an Instapoet.”

 

REVIEW | Daily Public | “H​​ow​ ​Do​ ​I Look?​​ ​is​ ​ultimately​ ​a​ ​book​ ​about​ ​a​ ​woman​ ​of​ ​color​ ​growing​ ​up​ ​in​ ​a​ ​world​ ​of​ ​avatars​ ​and Snapchat​ ​filters,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​challenges​ ​everything​ ​from​ ​internalized​ ​racism​ ​and​ ​heteronormativity​ ​to fetishization​ ​and​ ​men​ ​in​ ​film​ ​school."

 

INTERVIEW | Shondaland | "I really think of my book as a time capsule or 'letter from the future,' or now, to my past self. Dialogues between my different selves and different times. Even some things I read in the book, I already don’t feel like that anymore. But I enjoy those moments, looking at myself looking at myself. It feels a little cyborgian, and stepping outside of myself is attractive to me."

 

INTERVIEW | Hobart | "I try to return the gaze, look right back at those looking at me. It jostles people, because they’re uneasy with their object becoming a subject.”

 

INTERVIEW | ÄLPHÄ

 

INTERVIEW | 12 or 20 Questions with Sennah Yee | "As for the kinds of questions that I am trying to answer with my work: Who/what has control over how I look at myself/the world? In what ways can I return this gaze and reclaim this control?”

 

EXCERPT | Montreal Review of Books | Bond "Girls"

 

EXCERPT | Cosmonauts Avenue | Mulan (1988); Intimates; Motherlode

 

EXCERPT | Peach Mag | The Fast and the Furious (2001); Rear Window (1954); Flower Crown Snapchat Filter

 

EXCERPT | Poor Claudia | 10 Poems

 

EXCERPT | The Puritan | The Beach; The Desert; The Top of the Mountain; Dial-Up Internet Sounds

 

LIST | Laomagination | 2017 Asian American Poetry Books and Chapbooks

 

LIST | Punch-In-The-Face Poetry | Fall 2017 Books by Poets of Color

 


 

 

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