Instructions for Seeing a Ghost

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University of North Texas Press, Dec 18, 2019 - Poetry - 112 pages

This poetry collection is the record of an American's return home after a decade abroad, an exile imposed solely because he loved another man. In a virtuoso display of lyric and formal inventiveness, Bellin-Oka's poems meditate on the myriad losses engendered by diaspora: of home, family and sexual identity, and spiritual certainty.

"Steve Bellin-Oka's poems hold in balance an intensified language and a passionate voice that bring together the struggles of the inner life with stark realities. This is a book of arresting authenticity."--Peter Balakian, Pulitzer-Prize winner and judge


From "Self-Portrait as the Chosen One"

Long before I was what I am now, short

of breath, bald, just returned with arthritic knees

from exile in another country's muck and red

volcanic soil, too near-sighted to discern

the High Plains tumbleweed from the burning

bush of myth, scorched now and silent,

long before this, I was the first son my mother bore

that lived.

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About the author (2019)

STEVE BELLIN-OKA is the author of a chapbook, Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station and is the recipient of a Tulsa Artists Fellowship in poetry. He has taught at the University of Mississippi and Eastern New Mexico University. He lives in Tulsa with his husband.

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