Project Date: December 12, 2017 Skills: Books

แล้ว and then entwine

แล้ว and then entwine

Tinfish Press (2011) | Guest edited by Craig Santos Perez

Also available from Small Press Distribution

Note from the Publisher

This powerful first collection by Thai American writer Jai Arun Ravine pulls itself and its readers across geographies, cultures, languages, identities, and genders in a performance of transformation. Ravine weaves Thai and English, the past and the present, the lyric and the narrative, into a hypnotizing poetic dance. Additionally, Ravine explores the documentation of identity and citizenship through re-articulating charts, pages of a child’s composition book, and a birth certificate. This collection explores the seams of identity and origin and how they are painfully and beautifully entwined.


JH Phrydas | Something on Paper (November 19, 2013)

Susan M. Schultz | New thresholds, new anatomies! Trans-pacific gender / genre in work by Jai Arun Ravine, Eileen Tabios and j/j hastain | Jacket2 (April 20, 2012) and discussed in Schultz’ essay for AALR 2012: Generations, re-posted on Tinfish Editor’s Blog

Craig Santos Perez | The publication of Jai Arun Ravine’s แล้ว and then entwine (August 12, 2011)

Margaret Rhee | Our Subversive Anatomies: The Embodied Feminist Poetics of Jai Arun Ravine | Delirious Hem (May 18, 2010) [Rhee responds to earlier versions of segments of the book]

Praise for แล้ว and then entwine

“It starts with a rope, a body pulling itself mightily despite (and beyond) external and internal strains.

Then the journey stretches, splinters and transcends, chronicled and evoked with such dexterity and experimentation. In his remarkable first collection, Jai Arun Ravine has created a narrative swelling with beautiful, heart-rendering collisions. Languages—Thai, English—and documents—charts, pages of a child’s composition book, a birth certificate—define and defy meanings, margins. What is foreign is pitted against a cultural past. The myriad juxtapositions: of body and geology, of body swallowing body, gender and transformation, all history and livelihood. This collection is hypnotic, anthropologic, and in itself an act of reclamation.”

Joseph O. Legaspi

“In แล้ว and then entwine, what is real feels surreal and magical but believing in it happens as naturally as breathing.

Through ingenious physicality — be it in words, shapes, sounds, or forms — Jai Arun Ravine invites us to journey cross a few different kinds of ocean. Geologically, the poet takes us inside a home located in two continents, and linguistically, the poet converses with us in a language that navigates and develops, simultaneously, between what is odd and familiar. Though not all readers may understand every word in แล้ว and then entwine, they are sure to realize that this poetry is of superb engineering and genuine longing for a discovery of one’s difficult self.”

Padcha Tuntha-obas

แล้ว and then entwine is a skin that once peeled from Ravine’s body took the form of language.

Inscribed on pieces of rice paper, Thai lesson workbooks and notebook pages, this text hung on the walls of our apartment in Boulder, CO. แล้ว and then entwine is born out of Ravine’s divine and dangerous rite of passage from a half-Thai ballerina dancing in the hollers of West Virginia to a trans-shaman-prince-warrior in the form of Ram who dares to probe beyond the silence and speak hir mother (‘s) tongue. These words are not extended poem or anti-novel, but incantation. Ravine carried Ram to term and I helped coax the boi-child as midwife with the harmony of a shruti box and a congress of ravens. Pieces were conjured over a pot of simmering curry, stringy meats and steaming jasmine tea and in empty rooms where we danced to the sound of Thai vowels and embodied rock, rope and sea.”

Marissa L. Perel

“Jai Arun Ravine’s แล้ว and then entwine is gorgeously seductive in its multiple sonic and visual fields of symmetrically balanced lyric narratives, striking [cuts], interposed by poetic explorations layered in charts, documents, and workbooks.

Ravine peels back the nature of a contemporary identity, pulling the reader through a relentless charting of the body through Thai culture, language, cuisine, landscape, and, ultimately, poetic origin. The genius of this book is in not only how it pulls, but in how Ravine directs, pointing us gracefully to that which exists ‘in the motor capacities, to gears and apparent skeletal architectures’ where voice and ‘perception gravitate.'”

Ronaldo V. Wilson