“Who apologizes to whom?” is the presiding question of Cameron Quan Louie’s Apology Engine, a smart and poignant collection of prose poems that expertly toe the line between gallows humor and a series of sincere apologies in the making. Just as an engine is powered by the assemblage of its parts, Louie’s plunge into the world of apologies takes us from the author’s guilt over dissecting a squid for a school assignment to the apology that would never arrive from the white man positioning himself as an expert on the author’s Chinese background. Each instance of sorry builds into a seemingly unstoppable motion through which no amount of apology would ever be replete. The only solution, Louie weighs, seems to be to pull the engine apart, to let the vehicle break down. What imperfect lessons will we learn then? As for me, I love being so thoroughly schooled by this clever and innovative collection, which reminds me that yes, sometimes repair means have to first fall apart.
– Muriel Leung, author of Imagine Us, The Swarm
Winner of the 2020 Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Competition