The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void

Finalist, National Book Awards 2021 for Poetry

ISBN 9781643620367
Nightboat Books
Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is a poet, harpist, and Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Carceral Capitalism. (Photo credit: Nightboat Books) More about this author >

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The poems in The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void read like dispatches from the dream world, with Jackie Wang acting as our trusted comrade reporting across time and space. By sharing her personal index of dreams with its scenes of solidarity and resilience, interpersonal conflict and outlaw jouissance, Wang embodies historical trauma and communal memory. Here, the all-too-familiar interplay between crisis and resistance becomes first distorted, then clarified and refreshed. With a light touch and invigorating sense of humor, Wang illustrates the social dimension of dreams and their ability to inform and reshape the dreamer’s waking world with renewed energy and insight.

Judges Citation

Jackie Wang’s The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void vacillates between uncertainty and conviction, all the while vibrating with imagination. In this “half-formed piñata of yesterday’s dream,” floorboards thunder, bridges fall apart, noodles turn evil. This is innovative, transformative work—delightfully in conversation with illustrations by Kalan Sherrard—political and playful, studded with references to friends and the friends of the mind.


Jackie Wang, 2021 NBAwards Poetry Finalist, reads from THE SUNFLOWER CAST A SPELL TO SAVE US FROM THE VOID