We Follow the River

By Onjana Yawnghwe

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773861388, 96 pages, March 2024

Onjana Yawnghwe returns with a deeply personal exploration of family, memory, and self.


We Follow the River tells the story of one family’s escape from military violence in Myanmar, their exiled existence in Thailand, and their immigration to Canada with only a pile of beat up suitcases on a luggage cart. It is about growing up as a foreigner in a foreign land, sifting through family history and grief, and alighting across cultures and continents to find a home.

Onjana Yawnghwe’s third poetry book reveals an expertise in language—at times joyful, disobedient, wild, and other times condensed and restrained. A work of over twenty years, these poems are written and rewritten through the retroactive prism of experience, polished and honed, eroded and erased. Sweeping in scope, intimate and honest, these poems tell of the quiet moments, the unruly moments of rage and sorrow, the rough distillation of self, both hated and loved. These poems reside behind the secret, dark door of the self.