The Peeling of a Name is an exploration of the idea and the power of names, what it means to grow up Asian American, what it means to be Asian American during a time in our country with so much violence and hate towards Asians and Asian Americans. It is filled with odes to Anhvu’s family, his people, his culture, his heroes, and his inspirations. The Peeling of a Name is a love poem, an apology, and an explanation, hoping you gain a better understanding of what it means to be an Asian American in the past, present, and future.


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“Anhvu Buchanan brings his whole being into these poems. They are full of anger and yearning, pain and hope, rage and love. The rawness and the tenderness will stay with you. So will the poet’s name, as completely and utterly his own.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of Pulitzer Prize Winner The Sympathizer 


“In his latest poetry collection, Anhvu Buchanan strikes out in a bold direction, combining the ambitious cataloguing thoroughness that has long characterized his work with a cathartic sincerity and emotional transparency that feel new. This is a book for this present historical moment, when the COVID-19 pandemic has made anti-Asian hatred in the U.S. more visible than ever; at the same time, it is an intimate personal narrative, situating one writer’s coming-of-age experiences in the context of his nation’s. In open-hearted poems that generously extend understanding toward a wide array of complicated pop culture figures significant to Asian Americans, ranging from the James Bond antagonist Oddjob to the tennis star Naomi Osaka, Buchanan traces a throughline from stereotypical media portrayals of Asians like Fu Manchu to the surge in hate crimes affecting Asian Americans today. He uses erasure techniques to engage in conversation with  sometimes-controversial texts, erasing words to counter the erasure of human beings, illuminating the challenges that make the survival and endurance of our Asian American heroes all the more miraculous and worth celebrating.” – Jenna Le, author of Manatee Lagoon


“A gesture—slight and fierce, open and wise, wistful and angry—against all that is blind and wrong, and reaching towards something heroic, something generous and bright.”   — Daniel Handler, author of Bottle Grove 


“Yes, the names they called us got under the skin. But in Anhvu Buchanan’s marvelous 3rd collection, the skin speaks: in odes and love poems, in questions and incantations. “What does it mean to be alive without a name without a body without a spirit to call my own?” We are alive, Buchanan reminds us, survivors of oceans, inheritors of blank pages and haunted bones. I delight in the work this book is doing: unmasking rage, deconstructing racist myths, and us calling back to the vibrant legacy of AAPI artists with lyrical love poems to Margaret Cho, Bruce Lee, Truong Tran, and so many others. The Peeling of a Name is a beautiful and necessary collection from a brother with a livewire heart.” –  Brynn Saito, author of Power Made Us Swoon 


“The poems in this momentous collection linger in the mind in the same way as the words of Maxine Hong Kingston–an explication of hauntology that exposes the truths of Americana. A reminder that this place has tried many times to “tame [and silence] wild tongues” and failed, but without leaving an impression–a scar–an aftertaste from “the back of a memory.” These poems are a celebration of all the moments in which “something has tried to kill [Anhvu Buchanan] and has failed.” – Vernon (Trey) Keeve III, author of Southern Migrant Mixtape


The Peeling of a Name contains an erasure in which the author chronicles every email in which his name was misspelled since 2012.  It contains love poems the author has written to everyone from Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to Tyrion Lannister to Sandra Oh.  It contains an ode to Blockbuster Video,  a self-portrait as an Asian during Covid-19 and a poem in which the author asks Amy Tan: “Amy, why was it so hard to get along with our mothers?” But most importantly, it contains one of the most interesting voices in modern American poetry.  A voice of great humor and deep wreckage.  His name is Anhvu Buchanan.  It is a name you’re going to hear for a long time.  And after reading this stunning collection, it is a name you’ll never forget.” – Corey Zeller, author of You and Other Pieces 


“In The Peeling of a Name, Anhvu Buchanan turns nostalgia on its head and asks, “What does it mean to be alive without a name without a body without a spirit to call my own?” These are poems about adolescence, pop culture, history, and America, because in this book, writing about Yoko Ono, Fu Manchu, Asian cuisine, and bigotry is key to unearthing the self from the mire of racist representation and aggression in the world we live in. His poems are at once witty, tender, and ruthless in this unflinching examination of what it means to be Asian American in the twenty-first century.” — W. Todd Kaneko, author of This Is How the Bone Sings