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Two Brown Dots

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Selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Danni Quintos carves a space for brown girls and weird girls in her debut collection of poems. Two Brown Dots explores what it means to be a racially ambiguous, multiethnic, Asian American woman growing up in Kentucky. In stark, honest poems, Quintos recounts the messiness and confusion of b Selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Danni Quintos carves a space for brown girls and weird girls in her debut collection of poems. Two Brown Dots explores what it means to be a racially ambiguous, multiethnic, Asian American woman growing up in Kentucky. In stark, honest poems, Quintos recounts the messiness and confusion of being a typical ‘90s kid—watching Dirty Dancing at sleepovers, borrowing eye shadow out of a friend’s caboodle, crushing on a boy wearing khaki shorts to Sunday mass—while navigating the microagressions of the neighbor kids, the awkwardness of puberty, and the casual cruelties of fellow teenagers. The mixed-race daughter of a dark skinned Filipino immigrant, Quintos retells family stories and Phillipine folklore to try and make sense of an identity with roots on opposite sides of the globe. With clear-eyed candor and a wry sense of humor, Quintos teases the line between tokenism and representation, between assimilation and belonging, offering a potent antidote to the assumption that “American” means “white.” Encompassing a whole journey from girlhood to motherhood, Two Brown Dots subverts stereotypes to reclaim agency and pride in the realness and rawness and unprettyness of a brown girl’s body, boldly declaring: We exist, we belong, we are from here, and we will continue to be.


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Selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Danni Quintos carves a space for brown girls and weird girls in her debut collection of poems. Two Brown Dots explores what it means to be a racially ambiguous, multiethnic, Asian American woman growing up in Kentucky. In stark, honest poems, Quintos recounts the messiness and confusion of b Selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Danni Quintos carves a space for brown girls and weird girls in her debut collection of poems. Two Brown Dots explores what it means to be a racially ambiguous, multiethnic, Asian American woman growing up in Kentucky. In stark, honest poems, Quintos recounts the messiness and confusion of being a typical ‘90s kid—watching Dirty Dancing at sleepovers, borrowing eye shadow out of a friend’s caboodle, crushing on a boy wearing khaki shorts to Sunday mass—while navigating the microagressions of the neighbor kids, the awkwardness of puberty, and the casual cruelties of fellow teenagers. The mixed-race daughter of a dark skinned Filipino immigrant, Quintos retells family stories and Phillipine folklore to try and make sense of an identity with roots on opposite sides of the globe. With clear-eyed candor and a wry sense of humor, Quintos teases the line between tokenism and representation, between assimilation and belonging, offering a potent antidote to the assumption that “American” means “white.” Encompassing a whole journey from girlhood to motherhood, Two Brown Dots subverts stereotypes to reclaim agency and pride in the realness and rawness and unprettyness of a brown girl’s body, boldly declaring: We exist, we belong, we are from here, and we will continue to be.

37 review for Two Brown Dots

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Disclaimer: I won a copy of the book via Librarything Poetry scares people it seems. It’s not usually the same way that fiction or general non-fiction scares people. Look at the ALA list of banned and challenged books for the past year and the top ten does not include a book of poetry – and usually does not. Even people who read critically and widely tend to avoid poetry – saying either they don’t like it or it is too hard to understand. Let’s be clear some poets are – for instance why do some w Disclaimer: I won a copy of the book via Librarything Poetry scares people it seems. It’s not usually the same way that fiction or general non-fiction scares people. Look at the ALA list of banned and challenged books for the past year and the top ten does not include a book of poetry – and usually does not. Even people who read critically and widely tend to avoid poetry – saying either they don’t like it or it is too hard to understand. Let’s be clear some poets are – for instance why do some writers have to make an alternate difference for the word yellow that only they use. But I believe that there is at least one poet for everyone (Okay, I think there is more than one poet but let’s not overwhelm people, okay?). Danni Quintos might be the poet for you. She’s definitely of the poets I like after reading her collection. Quintos’ collection is divided into three sections: Girlhood, Motherhood, and Folklore. And when you think about it that makes far more since than Maiden, Mother, Crone. The Girlhood section focuses on her experiences growing up as an outside in Kentucky. She is a multi-ethnic Asian girl with brown skin. The poems can be painful – such as the ones about how she is treated by her classmates – also joyful in “When Clothes Make You Cousins” or even truthfully horror filled, such as “The Worst Part of Riding the Bus”. The poems about her childhood crush are heartbreaking. But there is also great joy in this section and that should be celebrated. There is the wonder and the questioning of children as well. There is light as well in the Motherhood section but also dark. The section is about the struggle to get pregnant as well as the birth of her son and the changes that her body underwent, the health issues that followed as well as raising the child. It also ends with the poem “Letter to Imelda Marcos”, who as the wife of a president could be called a mother. The Folklore section is a bit different, focusing on both folklore in the traditional sense but also as it applies to family history as well as national history. The section deals with questions we have about families about why some things do that occur in our family histories. The same is true when she examines how national stories are told and what information is left out. It is a very powerful collection.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kayla - the.bookish.mama

    One of the best poetry collections I have ever read. Everyone should read this book. Danni Quintos has a way of capturing the small moments and giving them a new kind of beauty and grit, allowing you to share in a moment that is so perfectly articulated you don’t just picture it, you feel it. She lets you into her reality of her childhood, those awkward and sometimes awful coming of age years, motherhood, and being a multiracial Asian American woman. I loved it, and I hugged it to my chest when One of the best poetry collections I have ever read. Everyone should read this book. Danni Quintos has a way of capturing the small moments and giving them a new kind of beauty and grit, allowing you to share in a moment that is so perfectly articulated you don’t just picture it, you feel it. She lets you into her reality of her childhood, those awkward and sometimes awful coming of age years, motherhood, and being a multiracial Asian American woman. I loved it, and I hugged it to my chest when I received my physical copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    teja

    so sosososo good. made my childhood feel real. the way she weaves american cultural references from the 90s/2000s with folklore, personal memory, family and history is so seamless. the way childhood is mirrored back in motherhood, and vice versa. so so so good

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

  6. 4 out of 5

    Olga Ozeruga

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karla Strand

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Orlando Leppert

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kat Johnson

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wuttipol✨

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lenna

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julianna Kropla

  15. 4 out of 5

    Belle Forrest

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Hall

  17. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

  19. 5 out of 5

    rei

  20. 4 out of 5

    Babs B

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  22. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle McGrane

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole-Anne Keyton (Hint of Library)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Lauve

  29. 4 out of 5

    cara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

  31. 5 out of 5

    Mandy C

  32. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  33. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  34. 4 out of 5

    Betty Winkins

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Jackson Berry

  36. 5 out of 5

    Richard S

  37. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Blasko

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