Sun Yung Shin

신 선 영 was born in Korea and is a poet and writer based in Minneapolis. She is the author of poetry/essay collections Unbearable Splendor (2016, winner of a Minnesota Book Award); Rough, and Savage (2012); and Skirt Full of Black (2007, winner of an Asian American Literary Award), all published by Coffee House Press. She is the editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016) and co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (South End Press, 2006, to be reprinted by University of Minnesota Press in 2020). Her bilingual (Korean/English) illustrated children’s book Cooper’s Lesson was published by Children’s Book Press in 2004. Her essay anthology What We Hunger For: Refugee and Immigrant Writers on Food and Family is forthcoming from Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2021 and her illustrated children’s book Where We’re From, co-written with John Coy, Shannon Gibney, and Diane Wilson, is forthcoming from Lerner Publishing in 2021. With Su Hwang, she is co-director of the community literary project Poetry Asylum, which recognizes poetry as a human right. She is also a bodyworker and anti-racist educator. and


Talks & Events

  • Reading Series

    October 13–October 17, 2020

    In the place of live programming, to which we do not wish to add at this time, we offer as a book launch event this reading of several poems from granted to a foreign citizen and its appendix, Transracial adoption in the US and Canada in the second half of the twentieth century, for you to enjoy at your convenience.

    Find Sun Yung Shin reading their poems:
    Tiger | Fade In, Fade Out
    Proxy | In the Orient | the warmth and love of your homes
    Lullaby | Goodnight
    Translate this Body into Everything

    And Godfre Leung reading his appendix to the project:
    Transracial adoption in the US and Canada in the second half of the twentieth century (a minor history)

    granted to a foreign citizen is a new book of poetry by Sun Yung Shin. It sifts through ephemera from Shin’s naturalization as an American citizen as a young Korean adoptee in the late 1970s, and writes them into a minor history that connects the early years of the transnational, transracial adoption industry to the ongoing tactic of family separation in US border and immigration policy. Throughout, Shin’s poetic voice struggles to achieve moments of self-actualized lyricality amid the banal violence of bureaucratic procedures.

    granted to a foreign citizen was commissioned as part of UNSTATELY, a yearlong series of programs on fiction and the nation-state curated by Godfre Leung. Together, the projects that make up UNSTATELY pursue an ethics through kinds of speculative thinking found in the practices and cultures of migrants. Part one, the exhibition Pao Houa Her: Emplotment, took place at Or Gallery from June 2 to July 18, 2020 and on public sites from April to June. This book is UNSTATELY’s second installment. The third and final program, which brings together the bookwork by Shin, Jinny Yu, and Republic of the Other, will be presented at Hotam Press Bookshop/Gallery in March 2021. UNSTATELY acknowledges the generous assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and British Columbia Arts Council.


  • granted to a foreign citizen

    Title: granted to a foreign citizen
    Category: Poetry
    Artist: Sun Yung Shin
    Editor: Godfre Leung
    Design: Victoria Lum
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printed by: Colour Code, Toronto
    Year published: 2020
    Pages: 58p
    Cover: soft
    Binding: saddle stitched
    Weight: 119 g
    Dimensions: 229 x 152mm
    Edition of 300
    ISBN: 9781927630105
    Price: $10

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