Ensō…is a model book— in its expansiveness of vision— to teach us how to extend poetry beyond the page as part of a publicly engaged, collaborative, and multimedial practice.” — Michael Leong

“Shin Yu Pai creates a language to inhabit the in-between places of the world and imagination.” — Miriam Sagan

“One of the most thoughtful poets in the Northwest.” — Paul Constant, Seattle Review of Books

It is fitting that we’d present a hybrid book and digital experience for Shin Yu Pai, a poet known for her wide-ranging collaborations and creative practice engaged as much in physical space as a moment on the page. With its blend of personal essays reflecting on the development of her poetics, Ensō places new work next to old, to create not only a mid-career retrospective but a guidebook for poets interested in moving their practice off the page and into the community.

From her early work in place-based and ekphrastic poetry and her explorations of bookmaking to her current experimentation with installation and projection, this book highlights the creative process of her poetry. The reader learns more about Ms. Pai’s influences— the identities that resonate for her— and her thoughts on cultural hybridity, exchange, and appropriation. She speaks deeply about how motherhood transformed her views of what is possible in poetry, reconnecting to her immigrant mother’s creative legacy, and how that pushed her ideas to better inhabit the world around us. She gives moving examples of how personal and systematic racism and misogyny have shaped her practice while inviting the reader into a deeper conversation about how a poet writes with and about their community.

As a book interested in process, we have included within Ensō a second book of Ms. Pai’s haiku in her discussion of haiku practice. As with all of our books, we include a wide range of audio projects and readings related to the book. We also include one video animation discussed in the book, “heyday”, as well as other material.


Kai Curry in the Northwest Asian Weekly: Shin Yu Pai’s Ensō offers insight into a poet’s journey

Additional information






8 x 11", 160 pages

Publication Date

March 17, 2020