Skip to main content

Distributed for Omnidawn Publishing, Inc.

La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living

From the small towns strung along the coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i to the land-locked landscapes of Paraguay to the volcanic surface of Venus, this collection of poetry is a field guide to flora, fauna, and mineralia encountered, real, and imagined. Jennifer Hasegawa scans across physical and mental planes to reveal their inhabitants. Packed tightly into exploratory rocket segments, these poems ignite our gravest flaws to send our grandest potentials into orbit.

 Hasegawa’s poems not only rearrange our ways of seeing the world, but they also reset the language we use in it. Banzai, with a literal translation of “10,000 years,” was used by the Japanese as a rallying cry in imperialistic and militaristic contexts. Today, the understanding of this word has shifted to a comparatively neutral translation of the enthusiastic expression “Hurrah!” in both in Japan and beyond. In La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living, Hasegawa aims to reclaim banzai, recasting the language of war and unwavering loyalty and forming it into one that stands against aggression and racism and embraces tolerance and self-acceptance. Here banzai becomes a rallying cry not of war but of grand potential. La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living chronicles a celebratory life and poetry filled with wonder.

88 pages | 1 halftone | 6 x 9


Omnidawn Publishing, Inc. image

View all books from Omnidawn Publishing, Inc.


"This is an impressive debut, and Hasegawa’s poems are remarkably vibrant, as the performance elements resound from the page with a force enough to echo, refusing to lay flat but to spark and sparkle with energy."

Rob McLennan's Blog

"Hasegawa’s surreal, spectacular intelligence crackles through La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living like high-voltage current through a trunk line. Like its throw-down title, this book mixes the flirty with the elucidating and the go-for-broke. . . . Many poems reveal Hasegawa’s tender attachment to family in her native Hawai‘i, to the sagas of daily life and natural beauty there, which bow but don’t break under the ongoing pressures of colonization. This may be the key to Hasegawa’s poetics: the resilience, the fierce intelligence, the banzai resolve to ‘live for ten thousand years’, not as a war cry but as a love letter, To Anyone Who Can’t Get Home."

Mary Burger, author of Then Go On

"Welcome to the Kingdom, its taxonomies and subjugations, its streets and kick ass bards. There are many ways to read La Chica’s Field Guide: a testament to the exponential speed of inequities; a chronicling of a third-generation Japanese American woman’s kamikaze-like memory, witness and resistance; an invocation of the epic power of the familial and the communal as evidenced by the simplest joys and our deepest sorrows. Amidst all of it, is the brilliant, resolute, invincible language of Hasegawa. 'Astounding alien / clean progenitor of the / new tongue of the ages. She / is here.'"

Aja Couchois Duncan, author of Restless Continent

"Buckle up for Jennifer Hasegawa’s exhilarating ride, whatever sort of displaced being you might be—from immigrant to extraterrestrial—and consult this manual. Follow the poems as they careen through assorted omens and 'ghosts of sovereignty.' Touching down in Hawai‘i, California, and other parts of the world, Hasegawa carries her baggage with aplomb. She’s all-too-aware of how old family folkways can linger with the 'slow-burrowing hoodoo/of suggestion.' And she’s brazen enough to push through to the next realm of possibilities . . . Let her show you the turns—both thorny and tender— and you just might awaken there."

Molly Bendall, author of Watchful.

"In the West, the word “banzai” was mostly recognized as the WWII battle cry of kamikaze pilots, but in truth, the word literally means 10,000 years and is associated with wishes for long life and celebration. It is a word that is both complex and compelling. The same could be said for the poems in Hasegawa's La Chica's Field Guide to Banzai Living. The collection takes us from Hawai‘i to the U.S. Continent to Babylon to outer space, and Hasegawa's use of story is both empowering and arresting. . . . What I admire most about Hasegawa's poems is how she uses darkness to reveal what the world today desperately needs—the presence of light."

Lisa Linn Kanae, author of Sista Tongue

Table of Contents

Propulsion Kingdom 5 Rockets with Rear-View Mirrors 6 21st Century Travel 8 To Anyone Who Can’t Get Home 10 Two-Minute Memoir 12 Villanelle on Los Angeles 1992 14 Carrying an M16 in the Garden of Eden 15 18 Minutes 16 This Love Like a Rock 18 The List of Retired Hurricane Names 20 Pantoum for Waiting 21 The Hanuman Threshold 23
Guidance Kingdom 26 Marlon Brando’s Master Class on Fate 27 The International Order of Door-to-Door Salesmen 28 The White Bull of Itaipu 31 The Queen of Needles 32 Drippy Leg Mystery Solved 34 (F)laws 36 The Ancient History of David Bowie 38 When All You Have is Good Intentions and a Toilet Brush 41 Surface Tension 43
Payload Kingdom 45 Kamikazes à Paris 46 Gen Z 48 The Slow Decay of Mystery 50 The Crown Flower 52 Alien Life Forms 53 3
A Black Hole Operator Speaks 54 The Surveyors 57 The Orinda Diamond Mine 58 Knife Shopping 60 Telekinetic Lullaby 61 Ode to Pepe’ekeo Mill Camp 62 After The Islands, c. 1961 63 Prayer Ceramic 64
Notes 67
Acknowledgements 69 4

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press