Book You Cannot Resist

You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids, my first book, prose poetry and lyric essay, launching March 1, 2022, published by Wayne State University Press, Detroit.

Praise for You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids

“Frances Kai-Hwa Wang languages desire with a refreshing candor and mischievous wit. She talks story of divorce, of messy relationships, and of enduring humiliating racist and misogynistic microaggressions because she is an Asian American woman. Wang’s prose poems and lyric essays ring with wisdom and hard-earned truths and dreamlike reveries in this unforgettable collection.” —May-lee Chai, author of Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories, winner of the American Book Award

“‘I do not know if one ever recovers from Kathmandu,’ the speaker in one of Frances Kai-Hwa Wang’s poems ruminates, and I don’t know if we ever recover—or want to recover—from You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids, which is part of the marvelous linguistic spell that is cast in this book. By turns whimsical, romantic, witty, hybrid, self-deprecating, fierce, intertextual, hashtagged, polylingual, and full of a radiant empathy that connects us to Vincent Chin, George Zimmerman, Sun Ku Wong, Hanuman, and Milan Kundera, this is a collection that astounds, surprises, and delights, which encapsulates much of what a book that leaves an indelible mark should do. Yay Frances for a collection that rocks!” —Dr. Ravi Shankar, Pushcart Prize–winning author of Correctional

“You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids is a great gathering of the many contradictions, the multifaceted multitudes, of Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. Across its pages of aphorism, prose poem, micro-fiction, and lyric essay, we encounter Patsy Cline heartache and AOC outrage, delivered in a humor that is solely Wang’s own.” —Tim Tomlinson, director and cofounder of New York Writers Workshop, author of Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire and This Is Not Happening to You

Reviews and Recognitions for You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids


About the book, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids

In the aftermath of a messy divorce, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang writes in the hope of beginning to build a new life with four children, bossy aunties, unreliable suitors, and an uncertain political landscape. The lyric essays in You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids deftly navigate the space between cultures and reflect on lessons learned from both Asian American elders and young multiracial children, punctuated by moments rich with cultural and linguistic nuance. In her prologue, Wang explains, "Buddhists say that suffering comes from unsatisfied desire, so for years I tried to close the door to desire. I was so successful, I not only closed the door, I locked it, barred it, nailed it shut, then stacked a bunch of furniture in front of it. And now that door is open, wide open, and all my insides are spilling out."

Full of current events of the day and #HashtagsOfTheMoment, the topics in the collection are wide ranging, including cooking food to show love, surviving Chinese School, being an underpaid lecturer, defending against yellow dildos, navigating immigration issues, finding love in a time of elections, crying with children separated from their parents at the border, charting the landscape of frugal/hoarder elders during the pandemic, witnessing COVID-inspired anti–Asian American violence while reflecting on the death of Vincent Chin, teaching her sixteen-year-old son to drive after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, and trusting the power of writing herself into existence. Within these lyric essays, some of which are accompanied by artwork and art installations, Wang finds the courage and hope to speak out for herself and for an entire generation of Asian American women.

A notable work in the landscape of Asian American literature as well as Midwest and Michigan-based literature, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids features a clear and powerful voice that brings all people together in these political and pandemic times.
Published by: Wayne State University Press

About the author, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is an award-winning poet, essayist, journalist, activist, scholar focused on issues of Asian America, race, justice, and the arts. Her writing has appeared in online publications at PBS NewsHour, NBCAsianAmerica, PRIGlobalNation, Center for Asian American Media, and Detroit Journalism Cooperative and in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, Drunken Boat, Joao Roque Literary Journal. She co-created a multimedia artwork for Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she is a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit artist.  

Author website:

Purchase your copy today, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids or recommend this book to your favorite library, or better yet, invite me to read and do a book signing at your favorite bookstore, library, university, book club, nonprofit organization, and more!
Recommend book to your favorite library 
Contact Wayne State University Press

Interviews and Readings and Previews:

NewsHour staff members discuss new books they have written | PBS NewsHour Jeffrey Brown spoke with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang "You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids," Wayne State University Press; Aaron Foley "Boys Come First," Belt Publishing; and Nicole Ellis "We Go High: How 30 Women of Colour Achieved Greatness against all Odds",  DK Publishing for our arts and culture series, "CANVAS." July 1, 2022. First Interview.

Finding home between the Vincent Chin case and COVID-19, The Emancipator at Boston Globe, June 20, 2022, poem with audio recording

Emil Guillermo and Tamiko Wong's Father's Day Pop Up for Pops, Wed., June 15, 2022, 8:30pm EDT at 1:05:27 - 1:11:26 mark

Bridge Michigan Book Club, Wed., June 8, 2022, 12-1pm EDT Virtual

Detroit Writing Room Book Club Asian Pacific American Heritage month virtual event, Tues, May 31, 2022, 7-8 pm EDT, Virtual

Author Talk You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair is in Braids, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang with Katherine Reynolds Lewis, MLK Memorial Library at Washington DC Public Library, Streamed live on May 4, 2022,

Ann Arbor District Library Author Event | Frances Kai Hwa Wang: You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids, book talk and reading, live event April 26, 2022, recording premiered May 24, 2022

NPR's Michigan Radio Stateside interview w April Baer, plus reading passages from my book "You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids," Tuesday Mar 29, 2022, at 3:20pm and 9:20pm EDT, on your local NPR station  at the 12:30 mark

Town Hall Seattle, Frances Kai-Hwa Hwang: Lyric Reflections on Family, Hope, and Asian American Culture, interviewed by Shin Yu Pai, Streamed live on Mar 28, 2022, 10pm EDT/7pm PDT

AAPI Creatives Panel Speak OUT, MLK Memorial Library at Washington DC Public Library, Premiered Jun 27, 2021, with Doris Truong, Multimedia Journalist and Director of Training and Diversity, Poynter Institute; Michael Dumlao, Artist, Activist and Author; Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Poet-Activist and Lecturer; Kevin Truong, Photojournalist and Documentary Filmmaker  
Sowing Aunties, poem, an Asian and Pacific Writers and Translators (APWT) winner, May 28, 2021, Joao-Roque Literary Journal, poem with audio recording

IS/LAND's Lost Constellation interview w Will Glover at Detroit Public Television One Detroit, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang "Lost Constellations" poem explores the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in Southeast Michigan's art community, May 24, 2021
DPTV One Detroit interview 

IS/LAND Lost Constellation, Detroit Institute of Art, with a poem written and performed by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and a music score by Jienan Yuan, and dancers Amber Kao and ciale, May 1, 2021

Dreams of the Diaspora by Jyoti Omi Chowdhury and Frances Kai-Hwa Wang (multimedia artwork)

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