An American Multitude
“Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley brings together Onondaga, Japanese, Cuban, and Appalachian cultures to investigate multiracial dislocation, American intolerance, and the question we all ask—who am I?”—LIBRARY JOURNAL
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An Electric Literature “Most Anticipated Poetry Book of 2021”

From the intersection of Onondaga, Japanese, Cuban, and Appalachian cultures, Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley’s newest collection arrives brimming with personal and political histories.

“‘You tell me how I was born   what I am,’” demands Naka-Hasebe Kingsley—of himself, of the reader, of the world. The poems of Dēmos: An American Multitude seek answers in the Haudenosaunee story of The Lake and Her children; in the scope of a .243 aimed at a pregnant doe; in the Dōgen poem jotted on a napkin by his obaasan; in a flag burning in a church parking lot. Here, Naka-Hasebe Kingsley places multiracial displacement, bridging disparate experiences with taut, percussive language that will leave readers breathless.

With astonishing formal range, Dēmos also documents the intolerance that dominates American society. What can we learn from mapping the genealogy of a violent and loud collective? How deeply do anger, violence, and oppression run in the blood? From adapted Punnett squares to Biblical epigraphs to the ghastly comment section of a local news website, Dēmos diagrams surviving America as an other-ed American—and it refuses to flinch from the forces that would see that multitude erased.

Dēmos is a resonant proclamation of identity and endurance from one of the most intriguing new voices in American letters—a voice singing “long   on America      as One / body             but many parts.”

multiracial; intersectionality; Appalachian; Cuban; Japanese; Indigenous; Onondaga Nation; Native American; genealogy; Punnett squares; heritage; nature poetry; folklore; myth; protest
Publish Date: 
8.5 × 6 × 0.25 in
7 oz

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He is the author of DēmosColonize Me and Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot, winners and finalists of over a dozen awards.

Praise and Prizes

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