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A goal of my poetry is to explore each complicated avenue of my identity as it manifests and conflicts with another avenue, to acknowledge all the problems and joys being Vietnamese-American. I can mourn for the loss of a homeland and empathize with my mother’s loss of country at the same time I can keep in mind the South Vietnamese persecution of Buddhists.
Part poem. Part fluent. Part Viet. Part not. These visual diaries are my way of understanding the complexity of being in two separate places at the same time.
"Perhaps it would be clear what the impulse of “naming” could do in ways that simply writing out the words cannot. We can’t name the horror. We can trace it. We can color in the lines."
I never considered poetry as career and forever reject the corporate model to poetry. I never approached making art like that; I sought to be more like my dream: to remain a student to poetry and to be myself.
Beneath the shroud of morning, two mothers watch / their daughter die. One keeps her eyes closed, / the other, her hands clutching prayer, // a kaleidoscope pool collected at their naked feet / as a lotus ruptures upon the gasoline garden.
Watching the film Spirited Away when I was in my first year of high-school changed how I viewed the world. It was the first time I realised that magic existed: it existed in stories, in people, in the very ordinary and the very extraordinary.