P R A I S E f o r B I A N C A
Bianca is stunning, powerful, a lesson in memory’s resistance to healing. Fiercely honest and a master of line breaks, Eugenia Leigh writes about trauma and mental illness in a way that reminds me that terror can still accompany thriving. Traversing childhood, young adulthood, marriage and new motherhood, Leigh contends with the ways constant survival can keep a person from living and loving. I am more alive and more myself after reading these poems. This is a book I didn’t know I was waiting for.
Eugenia Leigh’s Bianca pierces with its white hot rage and sorrow. With terrifying honesty and lyric precision, Leigh revisits the cyclonic violence her father inflicted upon her and her family and explores the dangers of mental illness when it goes unspoken, untreated, and unnamed. Bianca devastates me.
I hope you read Eugenia Leigh’s Bianca from cover to cover, in one sitting, as I have. In these pages you will travel with a woman—brain, heart, and gut—delving into nightmare and violence to finally retrieve a life of love and motherhood, to accept that life. These poems, which are sometimes a torrent, sometimes a clear evening sky, challenge the reader to witness pain and then reward us with the poet’s relentless search for connection and beauty.
Cathy Park Hong
A B O U T E U G E N I A
Eugenia Leigh (she/her) is a Korean American poet and the author of two collections of poetry, Bianca (Four Way Books, March 2023) and Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014), winner of the Late Night Library's 2015 Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry selected by Arisa White, as well as a finalist for both the National Poetry Series and the Yale Series of Younger Poets.
Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, The Nation, Guernica, Poetry, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Tahoma Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, Waxwing, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, the Best New Poets anthology, and the Best of the Net anthology. Poems from Bianca were awarded Poetry magazine's 2021 Bess Hokin Prize and received Special Mention in the 2023 Pushcart Prize Anthology.
Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was awarded the Thomas Lux Scholarship for her dedication to teaching, demonstrated through her writing workshops with incarcerated youths and with Brooklyn high school students. Since her time at Sarah Lawrence, Eugenia has served as a teaching artist with a variety of organizations including Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's group for undocumented youths, RAISE.
The recipient of fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, the Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere, Eugenia served previously as a poetry editor for Kartika Review and for Hyphen, a news/culture outlet that celebrates the Asian American diaspora. She currently serves as a Poetry Editor at The Adroit Journal and as the Valentines Editor at Honey Literary, a BIPOC-focused literary journal and literary arts organization.