About the Work
Adoptee Song is a chapbook about transnational adoption conceived around three organizing themes - a childhood of longing and belonging, wings of flight and journey that center the decisions of parents and guardians, and the names and language summoned by this - that explore the cleft between what a life may have been and what it is.
It was selected as the winner of the Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer Poetry Chapbook Prize by judge Raena Shirali. Of the contest, Jasper Project board member Dr. Len Lawson states, “The legacy of South Carolina poets of color became the impetus of this project with the example of Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer at the forefront. Her poetry and service to South Carolina presents a beacon for any artists of color seeking to make a permanent mark in their communities. My hope is for this project to endure as more gifted voices emerge from our state.” You can read the full announcement here.
Praise for Adoptee Song
“Maria S. Picone translates her experience as a Korean adoptee in the South into the language of poetry, filling in any gaps with compelling verse, connecting her timeline with her original and adopted tongues. She braves the unknown in her life with these courageous words, offering a free-spirited narrative we must observe from all angles of both sky and sea. Picone has a voice to remember going forward.” -Len Lawson
“What does it mean to belong—to a country, to a culture, to oneself? Maria S. Picone’s work is defined by these questions, and her work joins a storied lineage of Asian American authors who have wondered the same. Dense, insistent, and endlessly rewarding, Sky Sea Edict [nb: later renamed Adoptee Song] studies loss through identity and identity through loss in poems overflowing with language and yet marked by their empty spaces. These poems defiantly experiment, crossing text out, attempting language by repeating, iterating, attempting, scrapping it all and trying, again, to learn a mother tongue. Sky Sea Edict is a glorious declaration of oppositional existence, a vibrantly musical exploration that—as Picone herself writes—“weigh[s] these lucks against the lacks.” -Raena Shirali