Author of REFUGE, out June 1st 2018 from Kore Press

Ming Holden

Dear Ones,

The phenomenal Stacey, who helms the Best American Poetry book series blog, has written a lovely and generous blog post about the release of my e-book, The Survival Girls.  I’m so grateful to her for the support, and hope you spend some time with the blog.  It’s one of the foremost forums we have for contemporary public discourse around literature and what it does, and the people who make it and what they do.  It is nothing short of a phenomenal honor for my book to be blogged there.  And because the support that the book draws is for the girls themselves and their dreams of college in Nairobi, it’s doubly wonderful to have the company of people beating them with me, especially marvelous people like Stacey.


§899 · November 3, 2013 · Uncategorized · (1 comment) ·

1 Comment to “The Survival Girls on the Best American Poetry Blog”

  1. Ro says:

    Dear Ming (I hope you don’t mind me using your first name),

    I came to know about you in a, for me, unusual way. Read your profile and I instantly liked your sense of humor and was impressed with how you expressed yourself with words and in such a harmonious way, it just seemed to flow(of course you are a writer :-)). Without knowing your name I was intrigued and wanted to know more, alas without any luck and life went on. Two weeks later someone who I had contacted a month before concerning a course, a person I only knew through a stranger with whom I had this great conversation and connection with on my flight back home, emailed me a link to her website. After I read what I was looking for, I checked out the rest of the website and recognized a picture, it was yours. I thought it was weird to suddenly know your name and I even felt a bit guilty even though I had not actively sought it out. I read about your book and for a brief moment I hesitated if I should read it. After telling myself that I already knew what it would be about, I decided not to(there is a story behind this decision).

    Two months went by and I kind of forgot about this weird chain of events until you brought yourself under my attention again a few days ago by clicking on my profile. Even if it may have been accidental, I’m glad that you did because this time I read your interview by the Rumpus, which ended up in me buying your book yesterday.

    I finished reading it and it was very different from what I had expected. Your approach, the way you chose to tell it, you staying as true to yourself and the women who trusted you as possible. Your honesty blew me away and drew me in in such a way that I had to stop reading a few times (just for a minute) just to let things sink in while trying to distance myself from what I was reading, because the emotions of their life and of your life reached this place in me that I like keeping under control, which I was not succeeding at this time. I couldn’t and later I did not want to. The honesty and vulnerability of it all… vocabulary, especially in English, is too limited to convey what I felt, what I thought, what type of conversations were started in my mind. Some of the conflicts in your book, they were not mine, but in a strange way still were (because I am human, because I am a woman, because I am of color and simply because I exist) made me feel naked and known in a way that I did not want to be or I should say in a way that I do not trust anyone to know me. I could not read fast enough, my thoughts constantly ahead, waiting for the rest of me to catch up. It forced me to look back at secrets I had been told and promises I had made to myself.

    Knowing that one is worth fighting for, worth loving, is a gift that sadly so many go without. Hopefully these women know and believe now that they are worth everything. There is so much that I want to say, especially ask but I think this might be too long already. Thank you for writing their story and yours with such honesty. I find your level of honesty breathtaking (to say the least), one which I have never encountered in anyone I met. In some strange way it made me feel connected to them and to you. Please do not change this part about you. You reminded me that willingness to help and an idea can make a difference in the world, which reignited something in me that feels very familiar but for which I have not found the words yet. But I will figure it out.

    I wish you well in all you do and on this journey that we call life.
    And from the other site I’m taking a break, honestly, your book is the best thing it brought me up till now and I like to quit while I’m ahead 🙂 I don’t know if it means that I’m extremely picky or really bad at it, or weird but I can live with that (for now).


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