I think it’s hilarious that I’m posting a reflection about my first book after the publication of my second book. My enneagram is Type 4, and one of the descriptions tells me that I tend to linger in “preparing” mode because I never feel ready. Anyway, as I was planning for the release of my book MOON: Letters, Maps, Poems earlier this summer, I spent time reflecting back on HOUSE A. I tend to get lost in various anxieties, so I want to carve out at a space to appreciate the brighter moments.
I was uncertain about putting together readings, but I ended up visiting six cities, because others reached out, because my own efforts. At my book launch, I read while projections of the ocean and geometric images shifted behind me. Other memorable events included Poets House in NYC with Omnidawn poets, Open Books in Seattle with Kaveh Ackbar and Paige Lewis, and California Institute for Integral Studies (I enjoyed discussing my book with the moderator for the “in conversation” portion of this event). Most of all I loved visiting classes, skyping with classes, wandering together with students into the mysterious terrain of poetry and writing. The students were particularly thoughtful, curious readers, wrestling with the same questions I do.
An accumulation of book reviews for House A: Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, PEN HK, DIAGRAM and others… So many of these are in themselves beautiful essays that are pleasurable to read, but even beyond that, I did not anticipate what a gift it would be to feel so seen by strangers. I did not know what it would feel like to have a person read my words with such care and thought, making their own connections and bringing their experiences and methods of navigating into its light.
The reviews describe and analyze my book: in light of the impossibility, infinity, and intimacy of lyric address (LARB); as a triptych of lyric essays comprising smaller lyric essays, an immigrant’s decentering of boundaries in both home and literary form (DIAGRAM); in terms of my own critical work into refractive poetics (Massachusetts Review); with the words “trembling” and “oscillating” and “tidal tongue” (Columbia Poetry Review). And it was particularly special to be featured in the May/June 2017 issue of the Brown Alumni Magazine.
I loved engaging in interviews, being in conversation, mulling over questions and my own writing process. I spent the most time on this one in The Conversant. This one in the Rumpus felt vulnerable, discussing the current political context and its implications for poetry. And this one with Vi Khi Nao in the Los Angeles Review of Books blog was adventurous because it was conducted textually in real time in a Google doc.