Margaret Rhee writes poetry in the morning, teaches ethnic lit in the afternoon, and researches race, gender, and sexuality at night. Dreams—digital or otherwise—tend to occur all day long. In 2004, she attended the inaugural Kundiman retreat where, in the hot, humid, and beautiful Virginia landscape, she fell in love with poetry.


By Margaret Rhee • August 2011 • $3
Design by Eric Butler

The fifth Tinfish Retro Chapbook in a year-long series, Margaret Rhee’s Yellow is at once sexy and statistical, playful and critical. There are lists and lyrics and a closing index, which points to the full range of her concerns: gender, transgender, race, sex and sexuality. While Rhee lists Audre Lorde, Minnie Bruce Pratt and Adrienne Rich under the category of “Women Warrior Poets,” she might include herself among them. Yellow, despite the negative connotation of the word, is a courageous piece of writing.

from “Nectarines”:

Then, Julie tells me later, “you guys can be the nectarine sisters!” I say, “More like she’s a beautiful rosy peach. I’m a lovely purple plum. And together we make a nectarine!” Nectarine family love!

Terry Hong: “I consider myself Korean and American. A Korean American is a hybrid product of both U.S. and Korean countries and cultures.” Beat. I am proud we helped develop the nectarine.

For Javier’s belated birthday, I decide to make him a sundae. Caramel chips. Vanilla ice cream. Lines of poetry as topping. Before we take a bite, I add his favorite: Fresh plump pieces of nectarines!

“The first wave of immigrants from Korea began to arrive in the early 1900s.” “Harry Kim (Kim Hyung-Soon) created history in 1921 with the ‘Fuzzless Peach’ otherwise known as the Sun Grand Nectarine.”

My parents made love sometime in the year of 1983. I was born in the Hollywood hospital. I have dad’s mouth & mom’s eyes. I’m a crossbreed. Or a hybrid. Magnificent mixed breed. Am I a nectarine?


Listen to a conversation with Margaret Rhee and fellow Tinfish author Jai Arun Ravine on Blog Talk Radio.

Read Rhee’s reflections on her own writing practice at Doveglion Press.

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