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Onjana Yawnghwe

Onjana Yawnghwe was born in Thailand but is a part of the Shan people from Burma. She grew up in Vancouver, and received a MA in English literature. Her poems have been featured in numerous anthologies and journals. She was a co-founder of Fish Magic, a micro press specializing in limited-run, hand-made chapbooks and was co-editor of Xerography, a little literary journal. Yawnghwe


Fragments, Desire

Fernie, BC: Oolichan Books, 2017.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In Fragments, Desire, at once a love poem and an homage to Roland Barthes’ A lover’s Discourse, Onjana Yawnghwe has created what she refers to as her own “dictionary of love.” Out of loss and loneliness and the need for connection comes her poem of self realization and affirmation. “In a world in which I felt misunderstood, Barthes’ book seemed to be the only thing that understood me.” Whether read individually or as a long poem, Fragments, Desire is a book of astonishing beauty and originality.


The Small Way: Poems

Halfmoon Bay, BC: Caitlin Press, 2018.
PS8647 .A78 S63 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

What strange gravity draws two people together? What pulls them apart?

In The Small Way, a woman re-evaluates herself and her marriage as she comes to terms with a spouse’s transition. Intimate and powerful, the poems celebrate the courage of a partner coming out as a trans woman and records the confusion in facing a partner’s changing gender identity. Speaking to the tenderness that exists between two people, the book explores shifting bodies and changing emotional landscapes, and examines what it really means to love someone. The poems reside in the stillness of two bodies and in the intersection between time and grief. The Small Way is a passionate record of love and loss, and a naked exploration of vulnerability. The book is an elegy to love and memory, a chronicle of holding on and letting go.

Awards and Honours

2019 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (finalist)


Publisher Caitlin Press

Publisher Oolichan Books

Onjana Yawnghwe personal website