By Joe Garvey

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, an assistant professor of English in the College of Arts and Letters at Old Dominion University, is one of three finalists in the poetry category for the 23rd annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards.

Kingsley was nominated for his poetry collection "Colonize Me," which was published in 2019 by Saturnalia.

In his review of "Colonize Me," poet Brian Simoneau described it as "a book to savor and share."

"By turns playful and earnest, Kingsley conveys a sense of the anxiety we feel when we think about where we come from and who we would like to be," Simoneau wrote. "How do we embrace an identity when it results in part from suffering? How do we move on from the past without forgetting it? By putting these questions in the context of American colonialism and its inherent violence toward marginalized groups, 'Colonize Me' offers a profound exploration of identity that could not have come at a more essential time, as yet another disturbing episode of American history plays out all around us."

Kingsley is the author of two other collections: "Not Your Mama's Melting Pot" (University of Nebraska Press, 2018), winner or finalist for nine awards, including the International Latino Book Award, and "Dēmos," which is scheduled for publication by Milkweed Editions in March 2021.

Kingsley's books are available for purchase at the University Village Bookstore.

An Affrilachian author and Kundiman alum, Kingsley is a recipient of the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and Tickner Fellowships. He belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He teaches poetry and nonfiction in ODU's MFA program.

The Library of Virginia will announce the winners during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 17.

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