In Interrogation Room, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs's second collection, poems that restore redacted speech and traverse forbidden borders suture together divided bodies, geographies, and kinships to confront the unending Korean War's legacies of forced distances and militarized silences. Kwon Dobbs powerfully entwines uneasy, tentative reconciliations among South Korea's relatives in the North, her birth family in the South, and the transnational diaspora to which she belongs to resist the war's deprivations of language and imagination.
Sample poems appear in AGNI, Blackbird, Columbia Review: A Journal of Art and Literature, Diode Poetry Journal, Indiana Review, Jubilat, and are anthologized in One for the Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form and the forthcoming Azaleas: An Anthology of Korean Poetry.
“How to connect to the past, imagined, researched, and lived? This is the question that Jennifer Kwon Dobbs asks in her haunting new book, Interrogation Room . . . Her search for her birth mother thus becomes a lament for the lost souls of the divided Korean Peninsula, reminding readers that wherever we come from each of us "dwells at the border, adopted by all four directions" of the wind. This is our shared homeland.”
-Christopher Merrill, author of Necessities
“Jennifer Kwon Dobbs writes visceral and intelligent poems about an unending war and its many consequences, for Koreans and Americans, for women and children, for orphans and adoptees. Her work is a painful, eloquent reminder about how dividing a country also divides families and selves.”
-Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer
The unrestrained human imagination has no DMZs, no 'North/South' borders: In this spirit Jennifer Kwon Dobbs crosses hidden frontiers of the self as she overcomes restricted travel, restricted speech in a divided country. Her un-redacted revelations lead to extraordinary discoveries.”
- Carol Muske Dukes, author of Blue Rose