Angel & Hannah: A Novel in Verse (Paperback)
This sweeping, unforgettable reimagining of Romeo and Juliet tells the story of an interracial couple in 1990s New York City who are determined to protect their love against all odds
Hannah, a Korean American girl from Queens, New York, and Angel, a Puerto Rican boy from Brooklyn, fall in love in the spring of 1993. Hannah, who comes from a strict Korean home, meets Angel, a free and beautiful boy, at a quinceañera:
Beyond flushed, sweating bodies pushed,
pushing like cattle below black & buzzing speakers, under a torn pink streamer
loose as a tendril of hair—lush—
his eyes. Darkluminous. Warm. A blush floods her.
Hannah sucks in her breath, but can't pull back.
Music fades. A hush
he's a young buck in the underbrush,
still in a disco ball dance of shadow & light
Their forbidden love instantly and wildly blooms along the Jackie Robinson Expressway.
Told in seasons Angel & Hannah holds all of the tension and cadence of blank verse while adding dynamic and expressive language, creating new kinds of engrossing and magnetic forms. The hip-hop sonnets and poems are dynamic, arresting, observant, and magical, conveying the intimacies and sacrifices of love and addiction and the devastating realities of struggle and loss.
Committed to cultural details and the vernacular of Queens and Brooklyn, this is a hip-hop love story, not of the Capulets and the Montagues, but two New York City kids trying to survive and grow within their families and communities, driven by an all-consuming love.
About the Author
Ishle Yi Park is the first woman to become Poet Laureate of Queens. An ward-winning poet, singer, hula dancer, surfer, certified yoga teacher, lomi lomi practitioner, and mother, she's traveled the world reading and performing at universities and writing festivals. Park has organized benefits and shared the stage with other activists like Sonia Sanchez and Angela Davis. She is of Korean ancestry and both her daughters were born and are now being raised on the Hawai'ian islands.