hk (i)

This summer I was in the city of my childhood for almost three weeks, sweating in all ways: slowly, immediately, consistently. I wasn’t sure how to feel, which is normal for me, but still dislocating. It was familiar and unfamiliar in a way that was different than when I was here in 2010-2011. Same things in my heart: my green hills, walking alone with my thoughts, nightly fishermen, closeness to family. But nothing was new or startling this time, and I almost grew impatient with my aloneness. Still: visits with my grandfather, listening to him talk about his life after “Liberation”; an afternoon exploring the multifold levels and alleys hidden and winding beyond the Escalator; a ride on the ding-ding che to the end of the line, just to see; morning hike through the hills of southern Lantau island amidst all its subtropical folds and thriving insect life (there were spiders as big as my face); local news on TV and lawyers debating over the “white paper”; July 1, which is always a swell of emotion and complexity; ferry to the smallest island because I hadn’t yet been there; my favorite nighttime path by the water in Tung Chung; the sky darkening and lightening with fickle rainfall…

NY: water towers, yellow peril, and some loves

Last week in NY was mostly wandering around neighborhoods, admiring the water towers, but one of the nights I attended a talk by John Tchen on Yellow Peril. Notes:

  • How does visual culture of the past influence present emotions?
  • Yellow danger, yellow claw, disembodied hands, the grotesque
  • Racial attitudes shaped by political anxieties: Melanie Klein’s theory of projection/paranoia: the Other is constructed to externalize social instability and conflict
  • Racial Triangulation Chart: Y-axis is Inferior/Superior, X-axis is Outsider/Insider, and the outer boundary is “white”
  • The real danger of the 1882 Exclusion Act was in the idea that “American” means “white”
  • What are implications for the discourse surrounding “model minority” and “honorary whites”? Besides being patronizing and hierarchical, or the subtext of “white” as a standard for “good,” G wanted to know how this discourse participates in erasure, renders invisible the Other. It makes me thinks of the complexity of visible/invisible and why the term “colorblind” (as in, “post-racial”) has always made me anxious.

Other NY discoveries: Tenement Museum (my favorite wandering this trip), Hayden Planetarium (I almost cried…though I miss from childhood when a voice talked softly in the dark while pointing out constellations on the ceiling), and the most delicious yuba soba noodles.

Lastly: Hiroshi Sugimoto, because dioramas! Also just realized he is on the cover of a favorite book (An Elemental Thing, Eliot Weinberger).

awp; updates; coast/pole 4

In Seattle I will be reading Friday (2/28), 6p @ The Pine Box with Sonora Review (I have a new prose/poetry piece, “Notes on the Body in Turmoil,” in issue 64/65).

Feeling apprehensive about AWP, but I wanted to redeem my previous solitary experience which involved bed bugs, a severe cold, and excessive hermiting.

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An interview at SF Weekly, a lovely experience. 

Belated thank you to Mid-American Review and Richard Garcia for choosing my poem as winner of the 2013 Fineline Competition. The issue is full of amazing work, as usual.

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And:

[eben goff], this beautiful thing.

(image+text, layers/filters/translations, terrain of the ocean, record/document, measurement through indirect means.)

nu wa: the flood / letters to mao

I have a short prose piece in Quarter After Eight. Thanks to the editors for choosing it as winner of the 2012 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest. Nu Wa: The Flood is based on the folktale.

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[Aug 13] Five of my “Letters to Mao” are up at Web Conjunctions (8.13.13).

observations

“Your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.

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They live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities

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They place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world

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On the other hand, they operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.

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This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in…not being as organized…

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They are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

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They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive them into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies.”

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[portrait of an INFJ]

house : text

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/writers-as-architects/

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“In architecture, once you remove the skin — the “language” of walls, ceilings and slabs — all that remains is sheer space.”

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“how does one design and build using emptiness as a construction material? How do we perceive space? And how does it affect us?”

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“spatial relationships, repetition, reflection, sequence, transparency, tension, pacing, chronology… Any architectural question is answered from a literary point of view; any literary issue is addressed by a spatial idea.”

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(I like this act of translation: building a house/structure to represent the feeling/essence of a text.)