An interview with the Virginia Poet Laureate on poetry as witness, colonial history’s hauntings, and her longstanding poem-a-day practice

By Vina Orden
Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   
Poetry

it’s spring, or whatever / season it is for laughter or slaughter, a // difference of one letter between one state / of being and another

Interviews

“Together we are as mighty as our ancestors up from the dead.”

Poetry

REPEAT: you stay up memorizing all the twists and turns of a ‘proper’ / enunciation and still your tongue fails you the morning after, syllables / flopping in your mouth like a dead fish, cleaved in shame.

Poetry

I would never have to shed my skin / in my leaving.

Essays

On making critical connections to the long legacies of intraracial and cross-racial Black and Asian American lesbian organizing and community building.

Poetry

Anahita’s head weighs 10 kilograms. Her hand, extended forward yet / disconnected from the bust, holds a fragment of drapery.

They say singing makes them recall the peaceful time in Arakan, that once upon a time, they used to sing these folksongs freely and proudly

Essays

He was nice to my father and his siblings. But still…

Essays

When you are a descendant of indenture, even the violence of the colonial archive presents the seduction of finding.

Poetry

I’m not proud of what I’ve done. One foot bent in the gaze of the lake as if pleading to be consumed immediately.

Fiction

In that moment who was to say what belonged to me—Munir’s mouth, my luminous skin color, a setting sun, the shady place we were in, I could never tell anyone.

Interviews

“The work of journalism is bound up in paying attention and noticing things. That’s kind of how I go through the world, with an antenna up for the unexpected, the beautiful, or the moving.”

Interviews

“As a writer, as someone who reveals their innermost selves linguistically, it’s lonely not to speak the same language as your parents.”

Fiction

Your mother always told you stories as she oiled your hair: of her youth, legends and fables, immigration, your father’s business ventures.

Essays

The rise of the Chinese Trump supporter

Essays

The investigative journalist and author of the true-crime book The Good Girls in an interview about honor, caste, and patriarchy in India.

Fiction

Her grandma had once asked her how you could tell the difference between something that had disappeared and something that had escaped

Poetry

Kutenun seikat mimpi / dari telapak pemigi | I weave a bundle of dreams / from the palm of the pemigi loom

Poetry

And who could forget / when he declared he was going to marry himself, /showing up to Barnes and Noble in a wedding dress

Poetry

it’s spring, or whatever / season it is for laughter or slaughter, a // difference of one letter between one state / of being and another

Poetry

I’m not proud of what I’ve done. One foot bent in the gaze of the lake as if pleading to be consumed immediately.

Interviews

“Together we are as mighty as our ancestors up from the dead.”

Fiction

In that moment who was to say what belonged to me—Munir’s mouth, my luminous skin color, a setting sun, the shady place we were in, I could never tell anyone.

Poetry

REPEAT: you stay up memorizing all the twists and turns of a ‘proper’ / enunciation and still your tongue fails you the morning after, syllables / flopping in your mouth like a dead fish, cleaved in shame.

Interviews

“The work of journalism is bound up in paying attention and noticing things. That’s kind of how I go through the world, with an antenna up for the unexpected, the beautiful, or the moving.”

Poetry

I would never have to shed my skin / in my leaving.

Interviews

“As a writer, as someone who reveals their innermost selves linguistically, it’s lonely not to speak the same language as your parents.”

Fiction

Your mother always told you stories as she oiled your hair: of her youth, legends and fables, immigration, your father’s business ventures.

Essays

On making critical connections to the long legacies of intraracial and cross-racial Black and Asian American lesbian organizing and community building.

Essays

The rise of the Chinese Trump supporter

Poetry

Anahita’s head weighs 10 kilograms. Her hand, extended forward yet / disconnected from the bust, holds a fragment of drapery.

Essays

The investigative journalist and author of the true-crime book The Good Girls in an interview about honor, caste, and patriarchy in India.

They say singing makes them recall the peaceful time in Arakan, that once upon a time, they used to sing these folksongs freely and proudly

Fiction

Her grandma had once asked her how you could tell the difference between something that had disappeared and something that had escaped

Essays

He was nice to my father and his siblings. But still…

Poetry

Kutenun seikat mimpi / dari telapak pemigi | I weave a bundle of dreams / from the palm of the pemigi loom

Essays

When you are a descendant of indenture, even the violence of the colonial archive presents the seduction of finding.

Poetry

And who could forget / when he declared he was going to marry himself, /showing up to Barnes and Noble in a wedding dress