My Dear Comrades (Paperback)
In this poetry collection, Sunu P. Chandy includes stories about her experiences as a woman, civil rights attorney, parent, partner, daughter of South Asian immigrants, and member of the LGBTQ community. These poems cover themes ranging from immigration, social justice activism, friendship loss, fertility challenges, adoption, caregiving, and life during a pandemic. Sunu’s poems provide some resolve, some peace, some community, amidst the competing notions of how we are expected to be in the world, especially when facing a range of barriers. Sunu’s poems provide company for many who may be experiencing isolation through any one of these experiences and remind us that we are not, in fact, going it alone. Whether the experience is being disregarded as a woman of color attorney, being rejected for being queer, losing a most treasured friendship, doubting one’s romantic partner or any other form of heartbreak, Sunu’s poems highlight the human requirement of continually starting anew. These poems remind us that we can, and we will, rebuild.
About the Author
Sunu P. Chandy is a poet, social justice activist, queer woman of color, civil rights attorney, parent, and the daughter of immigrants from Kerala, India. Sunu completed her B.A. in Peace and Global Studies/Women’s Studies at Earlham College, her J.D. from Northeastern Law School, and her M.F.A. in Poetry at CUNY, Queens College. Sunu lives in Washington D.C., and is grateful for solidarity with other poets, including many women of color and LGBTQ writers.
“Sunu Chandy’s My Dear Comrades thrives in that charged space in which politics and personal story connect. Here, each experience pulls the weight of its complicated history; each observation is viewed through the lens of a social justice warrior, but also through a guide leading us toward enlightenment and empathy. Chandy’s poems burst with an empowering energy that’s unshakable, unstoppable.” —Rigoberto González, author of five poetry collections including The Book of Ruin
“In Sunu Chandy’s My Dear Comrades, she turns her exquisite attention toward everyday rituals of violence, indoctrination, and subjugation. Over and over, she interrogates some of our most-metabolized rituals, denying them the safety of invisibility, as when she writes: ‘Years later, during the middle of law school, I learned / this rule by observation: We must stand / when the judge enters the courtroom.’ And then later: ‘In that moment I learned / much of what I needed to know about the law.’ At the heart of her refusal is a poetics and an ethics of discipline, tenderness, and attention that reminds me of the work of Martín Espada and Audre Lorde. My Dear Comrades is a stunningly lucid and deeply personal work about law and power, race and queerness. Love.” —Aracelis Girmay, author of The Black Maria and Kingdom Animalia
"At the foundation of My Dear Comrades is a belief in the strength of community, whether that is intimate family, a wider chosen community or a geographically determined ‘general public.’ Each kind of community deserves--requires--the same kind of care. The attentions these poems give is indeed intimate but their intention and embrace is wide and public. Sunu Chandy is a generous poet, wise and willful and fierce and kind." —Kazim Ali, author of several books including most recently, The Voice of Sheila Chandra and Northern Light
“Sunu Chandy’s debut collection My Dear Comrades is a love letter to the creation of community, queer family building, and fighting against injustice. In language that both challenges and consoles, Chandy investigates, as in the poem ‘Calculate,’ ‘[w]ords that can build us / up or tear us to shreds…’ This book looks closely at language, questioning who owns it, who silences it, and what silence protects. Chandy asks: how do we repair our broken world? And the poems answer, in a brilliant call for social justice, workers’ rights, new constructions of family and most of all, deep compassion.” —Nicole Cooley, author of Breach, Girl After Girl After Girl, and Of Marriage
"From the love underpinning LGBTQ adoption to the struggles of immigration, this lyrically inclusive and politically unifying debut collection makes the best and most beautiful argument toward belonging.” —Roger Sedarat, author of Ghazal Games and Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque
“My Dear Comrades lives at the intersection of the personal and the political. Fearlessly, with candor and grace, these poems bear witness, shatter oppressive silences, and call injustice by its many names. At the same time, they acknowledge the complicated matrices that make us human—our relationships, desires, the gnarled pathways of the heart. Bracing and compassionate, fortifying and vulnerable, Chandy debuts here as a necessary voice that reminds us: ‘Remember integrity. / Remember what is at stake.’” —Lauren K. Alleyne, author of Difficult Fruit and Honeyfish