Book Reviews

Review: Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience edited by Patrice Vecchione & Alyssa Raymond

If you enjoy poetry and are interested in an ownvoices collection about the immigrant and refugee experience, you have to read Ink Knows No Borders.


With authenticity, integrity, and insight, this collection of poems from some of today’s most compelling voices addresses the many issues confronting first- and second- generation young adult immigrants and refugees, such as cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, human rights, racism, stereotyping, and questions of identity. Poems by Elizabeth Acevedo, Erika L. Sanchez, Bao Phi, Eduardo C. Corral, Chen Chen, Sholeh Wolpe, and a growing list of others encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, and offers empathy and hope for those who are struggling to overcome discrimination.

Many of the struggles immigrant and refugee teens face head-on are also experienced by young people everywhere as they contend with isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I often dabble in poetry and I have got to say that Ink Knows No Borders is right up my alley. The premise of ownvoices poems about the immigrant and refugee experience was the main reason I knew I had to pick up this collection, and then when I saw the contributor list, I was even more obsessed. There are so many gorgeous, heartbreaking, and tender poems. This is a collection for people without a voice.

You are a model. Until you aren’t. Because those manners you once minded and that tongue you once bit won’t be held back anymore. Can’t be.

(Quotes take from the arc which may not be final!)

Reading Ink Knows No Borders is an emotional experience. Whether you can say you have felt this feeling, or whether you can empathize with these moving words, it’s an experience that demands to be savored.

To me sanctuary is physical, has a body, teeth that can be kicked in.

They’re more than poems, they’re more than stories, they’re experiences. The disillusionment with the American dream, the sacrifice needed to get a seat at the table, the scars of their homeland. Pick up Ink Knows No Borders it has never felt more timely or important. Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


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2 thoughts on “Review: Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience edited by Patrice Vecchione & Alyssa Raymond

  1. Definitely one for the times we live in. My case is nothing as hazardous as the life & death stories of most migrants & refugees but still affects my everyday life: I’m English but have lived in Ireland most of my life, paid my taxes etc. If/when the UK leaves the EU, because I never became an Irish citizen (there was no need as we were all European together with the same rights), I’ll be classed as a non-EU migrant, even though this is my home. I can’t afford the couple of thousand Euro to become a naturalised citizen and no-one seems to have any clue about what will happen to people in my situation. As usual I’ve wittered on far too long but thank you Lily for bringing this collection to my attention.

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