The AALR Book of Curses

What is a curse in a broken world? A kind of intervention, a magic, other language that intervenes where existing language is not enough–or part of the problem.


Continuing the work of the AALR Tarot Cards, the AALR BOOK of CURSES is a hybrid, formally dynamic piece of magic and literature, one that opens up how we understand justice, engage injustice, and who gets to decide what counts as each—especially in the era of 45.

To call a curse a curse, to name it a malediction, is to accept an assailant’s eye view of history. It is to look from the vantage point of power upon a challenge to the status quo as necessarily immoral–when that challenge is often the only recourse of the disempowered in a world designed to keep them that way.

The curse, reimagined in this fashion, is justice inside the empire.

Join us in cursing colonialism, the English language, elephant poachers, Asian fetishists, white chefs of “ethnic” cuisine, prison guards, abusive partners, killers of hope, those who keep silent, and more. Our BOOK of CURSES includes an “advent calendar,” so we can count down to next Lunar New Year together, opening each new box to find a curse with illustrated glyph and instructions. In our accompanying spellbook are literary elaborations on each of the curses–essays, poems, fiction, graphic narrative–along with tissue paper to tear out, trace the glyph onto, and burn to release the curse into the world.

Curses include:

· a Curse for the Border, by Kazumi Chin
· a Curse for the American Dream, by Jane Wong
· a Curse for the Guard, by Brandon Shimoda
· a Curse for Theodore Roosevelt, Asshole, by JoAnn Balingit
· a Curse for Colonisers, by Shailja Patel
· a Curse for Elephant Poachers, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
· a Curse for Sexual Colonialism, by Sally Wen Mao
· a Curse for Haters, by Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
· a Curse for Diabetes, by Regie Cabico
· a Curse for Motorola, by Brandon Som
· a Curse for Paul Ryan, by Shawna Yang Ryan
· a Curse for White Experts of Ethnic Cuisine, by Monique Truong
· a Curse for Immigrants Who Close Doors Behind Them, by Ed Lin
· a Curse for the Sensitive Guy, by Swati Khurana
· a Curse for Abusive Partners, by Kai Cheng Thom
· a Curse for Izanami and Izanagi, by Hiromi Itō + Jeffrey Angles
· a Curse for Xob Laug, Spirit of Lightning and Thunder, by Khaty Xiong
· a Curse for Kim Dae Shik, by Jennifer Kwon Dobbs
· a Curse for Child Predators, by Hieu Minh Nguyen
· a Curse for Persecutors, by Li-Young Lee
· a Curse for Killers of Hope, by Mimi Thi Nguyen
· a Curse for Desis for Trump, by Ronak K. Kapadia
· a Curse for Those Who Stay Silent, by Nayomi Munaweera
· a Curse for Doubt/Faith, by Kazim Ali
· a Curse for the English Language, by Rajiv Mohabir
with illustrations by Matt Huynh.

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