The Year of Blue Water

26 March 2019 (Poetry; hardcover, $45; paperback, $20)

Buy at IndieboundBookshop, or Yale, among other places. For occasionally available signed copies, go to my offerings page.


Finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry


Yanyi’s dexterity of self-discovery is open and honest, and his poems form a frame within which social norms can be realigned. . . . The interchange in this fine young poet’s work is rewarding each step of the way on a path worth taking.

—Raúl Niño, ALA Booklist

As its title implies, The Year of Blue Water reads as a record of time, a kind of daybook of observations in sentences so crystalline, spare, direct, and yet offhand, that it can be easy to miss, at first, the book’s complexity.

—Carl Phillips, from the 2018 Yale Younger Poets Prize Announcement

These poems offer the difficult gifts of difference through a clear and moving language, as an aperture widening insight into how we belong (or not), how we know or un-know, are seen or self-erase, all choices at the heart of becoming, naming one's self.

—Erica Hunt

I love the rigorous self-intimacy that allows Yanyi such wisdoms as: ‘If there’s a thing I want to teach me, it’s how I live my light.’ This book carries, and shares, that light.

—Ross Gay

It’s almost enough to praise the richness of this amazing book’s references to culture. The Year of Blue Water is powered by a breathtaking range of subjects and subjectivities, but the simultaneously relaxed and radical pitch of the diction here is also a marvel. Each poem is as unpredictable and intimate as a conversation with no boundaries to its thinking and feeling. This book is laboratory of experience and experiment. It’s a debut of singular invention.

—Terrance Hayes


NPR: All Things Considered
Washington Post
Boston Globe
The Rumpus
Publishers Weekly
Electric Literature
Book Marks
American Booksellers Association
The Lantern Review
The Key Reporter


If you are interested in a press copy for a review or interview, or are considering the book for your classes, please reach out to Caitlin Gallagher at Yale University Press (caitlin [dot] gallagher [at] yale [dot] edu). For anything else, you can check out my contact page.

The Year of Blue Water