Ginger Ko



“Thick weight we feel for, bowl of poison & chicken feed we do also tip to our lips, gob of fused gold ingots we cough up in the river with the snow falling one etched flake at a time and if a calliope plays, it’s not the tune you were expecting. The top of the head a tin toy wound, the body flavor-sodden. Motherlover‘s hilaria & cool-eyed righteousness, effortless abyss skimmer, cradle of heartless & heartbreaking turns. Here is a degradation as rich in wry indignation as any of us pukes could hope for.” —Danielle Pafunda

“In Motherlover many selves speak: sister, lover, mother, stranger. All speak, though, from one ‘body bearing up under puzzlement,’ and they speak, not pretending to hear ‘angels in the music of a difficult landscape,’ but with more imposing purport: to ‘weird the grayscale quality of my life.’ Ginger Ko’s poetry epitomizes poetry’s purchase, its capacity to contest the pervasive forces of grayness, of uniformity and conformity. Motherlover is formidable, a fierce weirding.” —H. L. Hix

“Ginger Ko’s Motherlover is a gut-wrenching and memorable debut, gorgeous in its renderings of discomfort and precise in its sensitivity. Ko slips expertly from density to emotionality, from repulsion to compassion. Her verses are ‘razor-wire flowers to punish / those taking what isn’t theirs.’ This is a book of giving, taking, and remembering, an exploration of memory’s insistence, power, and slipperiness. The poems feel for something with their hands, as if in the dark, sliding around in the beautiful mess of language and personal history. The exploration is terrifying, felt, real, funny, and just a goddamn pleasure.” —Morgan Parker

“Ginger Ko’s Motherlover is at once supplication and rebuff. I’ve been going back again and again to the book for its moments of airtight agony, unsparing in their demands. Despite everything: Motherlover doesn’t want your sympathy. Motherlover doesn’t want your disdain. Motherlover doesn’t want your loyalty, even. It only wants you to let it alone, sit back down, and think about the errors of your ways. —Fanzine, Grace Shuyi Liew

18 in stock

SKU: ML Category: Tag:


April 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9965868-2-5
Trade Paper Original
6 x 9
80 pages

Cover art by Sofi Thanhauser.

We are pleased to announce the publication of Motherlover, the debut collection by Ginger Ko. This is a work of boldly expressive, emotionally restless poems, in which tonal variation, precision of imagery, and discomfiting honesty shape our understanding of its complex speaker as she attempts to address and process both her personal history and her own ambivalence to the various roles she is expected to fill as a woman, lover, wife, and future mother.

The opening sequence, “Gaslight,” explores the ways in which childhood abuse affects family dynamics, while the second looser section of individual poems called “Body” looks at various ways this history comes to bear in other relationships, in an ongoing way. The final sequence takes as an organizing metaphor the flashing signature of a lighthouse, which in this case Ko has situated in the wide prairies surrounding her as she wrote the book in Laramie, Wyoming. Does her Prairie Lighthouse warn of obstacles ahead, or point toward safe passage? What does it mean to internalize this metaphor, to signal oneself as off/on, to throw out a self-illuminated, searching beam:

At night I must turn off lights, click the set, and lie in bed like a drowned flower,

dried spice, a glass mannequin filling out my clothes.
I feel around my head with taps of recognition.

I remember how it feels, but have forgotten how to get there.

I point a flashlight at darkness,
the light dissipating before touching on a single thing.

[“Night Signature,” p. 73]


Additional information


Ko, Ginger