The sun sieves through the canopy— / rivers are relenting. My soul seats itself // for the first time. Where it is quiet, it becomes cold. / There is nothing I must do but die— // what joy to let go of all things—what ease to give up.
‘Cracking the spine, we eat // With fingers mixing and mashing, / ladling for one another, / Karaili, pommecythe, cur-he, / spooning and sliding into our mouths, / Wiping the leaf green.’
‘how to write a thank you letter / how to write a sorry letter. how to write / a letter saying please i’d love / my money back, or haven’t i given / you enough? how to write i love / you i love / you and isn’t that / enough?’
‘If you spark a flame and turn / it upside down, / you will find it is still / a flame.’
Did she look up, see the lettering on his nametag, N-A-D-A-R-A-J-A, and think to herself, “A Tamil I don’t know? In Findlay, Ohio?”
‘What else was contained within the pages? What had come before the tofu boxes and dusty scrolls, the grumpy old man who spent his last two decades in America cloistered in my uncle’s back house?’
‘I am, I want to be, the rain, I want to be the ocean, just so I could say back to her: I am home now.’
What the painful process of learning Korean, the language spoken by those who love me, has taught me about facing rejection as a writer
‘Sometimes you are damaged. You think poetry will repair you. You think poetry should repair you. You shake your fist at it when it doesn’t. You walk hand-in-hand with your damage, into the world. You do not speak. You are surprised when people register you are there.’
‘Danny’s hands dropped to his knees as he gasped. He felt something…a fist pressed against his face. I’m being punched, he thought as he fell. This is me being punched. It was a familiar feeling. Almost nostalgic.’
‘The signs were like a collective raft, keeping them afloat as they waited on responses to their calls of distress.’
When we point towards the horizon and say this is the color / of our grandfather, we do not know for how long // the night will carry your shade or what winds / brought you here.
‘He doubts he has the capacity to uproot himself and start over in a foreign land at this age. But times of war and revolution have a tendency to embolden the meek, to electrify the confident.’
‘Say, I’m here, Dad, my mom said. I’m here, Dad, I said. You have to say it louder so he can hear you.’
Journalist and music critic Hua Hsu talks to Ashok Kondabolu about the best and worst of his dad’s record collection and how his fascination with rap beef inspired his upcoming book
‘I’m conducting an experiment for escape.’
In Huan Hsu’s The Porcelain Thief, the search for a family treasure unearths the spell of nostalgia
‘All your potatoes on the ground—you were never meant for this. The camerawoman tiptoes around spilled tubers as she zooms in on your front teeth, tearing open a parcel of dried shrimp. ‘
‘Because she had saved my sister once, when my mother tried to pound out the wildness from my sister’s body with both words and sticks, no one ever came to rescue her.’
A graphic memoir on ritual and mourning
‘Do you hear / the rainfall beating / on cowhide skin / father? It is the life / of autumn, / supernova / booming’
‘It was the mind repeating itself out of hope— / a mind that inhabits the same metaphor over and over’
“in the jungle they hide until / the seekers, bearing lime leaves jail / them in the silver night.”
She petrified her / Secrets. “About what?” / That she’s been chosen. / “She chose silence.” How? / “Like the light, deeply / Fissured.
‘As children, she liked purple, I liked pink. She liked turkey, I liked ham. She liked American cheese, I liked Swiss.’
The National Book Award finalist and author of An Unnecessary Woman talks about mothers, thievery, and his homebody fabulousness.
“…I was more apprentice than student, and he was more family than friend. Our time together bridged the waters of music and delved into politics, healing, life, and death.”
“The first real song I wrote was a book report for Lord of the Flies.”
Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist interviews Anil Dash, the blogger and technologist, at Financier Patisserie, near Astor Place.
Qiu Miaojin—one of the first openly lesbian writers in ’90s post-martial-law Taiwan—committed suicide at the age of 26. What follows is an excerpt from her “survival manual” for a younger generation. With an introduction by translator Bonnie Huie.
Kitamura chats with Hermione Hoby about her new novel, a “collage of colonialism.”