In her debut collection, Tiana Nobile grapples with the history of transnational adoption, both her own from South Korea and the broader, collective experience. In conversation with psychologist Harry Harlow's monkey experiments and utilizing fragments of a highly personal cache of documents from her own adoption, these poems explore dislocation, familial relationships, and the science of love and attachment.
A Rona Jaffe Foundation award winner, Nobile is a glimmering new talent. Cleave attempts to unknot the complexities of adoptee childhood, revealing a nature of opposites--"the child cleaved to her mother / the child cleaved from her mother"--while reckoning with the histories that make us.
The first time I belonged to a woman,
my body a fresh bulb broken off at the root.
She kept me for six months,
watched spit bubble from my pursed lips.
I wonder if she ever claimed me,
if she rocked me to sleep on her chest,
if she wiped my mouth gently saying,
There you go, there you are.
About the Author
Tiana Nobile is a Korean American adoptee poet. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College, MAT in elementary and special education from the University of New Orleans, and MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. Tiana is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Kundiman fellow, and a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. A finalist of the National Poetry Series and Kundiman Poetry Prize, she is the author of the chapbook, The Spirit of the Staircase (2017). Her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The New Republic, Guernica, and the Texas Review, among others. Currently, she lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she works for an arts education nonprofit.