David Shook is a poet, translator, and editor who was raised in Latin America. In their debut collection, Our Obsidian Tongues (2013), Shook explores the violence and hunger of everyday life, steeping their poems in lush imagery and sensory detail. Their writing has appeared in The Believer Logger, the Guardian, Hyperallergic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, and World Literature Today, among many other publications.
In 2013, Shook founded the nonprofit publishing house Phoneme Media, editing over 30 books translated from 25 languages during their five years there, including the first ever literary translations from Uyghur and Lingala. Shook has translated over a dozen books from Spanish and Isthmus Zapotec, including Mario Bellatin’s The Large Glass: Three Autobiographies (2014), Víctor Terán’s The Spines of Love (2014), and Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome (forthcoming 2019).
They have produced short literary documentaries and video poems in locations including Bangladesh, Burundi, Cuba, and Equatorial Guinea, and their own poems have been adapted into a short film in Rwanda. They were a 2017 NEA Translation Fellow for their translation of the São Toméan poet Conceição Lima’s selected poems and are a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California.
A long-term resident of California, Shook presently lives in Iraq, where they are Artist in Residence at Kashkul, an arts and research collaborative at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.