I’m sprawled on the basement couch of my home in the suburbs of Chicago, eating tangerines with my family as we watch the Korean drama “Reply 1988.” Transported to a time when cell phones were revolutionary and people still used charcoal to start their stoves, I feel deeply nostalgic for an era I never experienced.
In her poetry book “Eye Level,” American poet Jenny Xie uses sparse, lucid verse to interrogate the intricacies of seeing. Though the poems that make up her collection are wide-ranging in content and form, they are threaded by a shared conviction to question the gifts, limitations, and fallacies of sight.
This visceral aversion for what is not in our likeness manifests in a multitude of all too familiar ways: racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and systemic brutality. But what happens when humanity itself bands together to face off against a non-human foe? How do our embodied conceptions of alterity, safety, and righteousness interface with the ways in which we attempt to control — through political, narrative, and visual currencies — that which is too strange or too sinister to comprehend?