BWS 04.03.2015: Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen 2015

Hoa Nguyen is the author of nine books and chapbooks including As Long As Trees Last and Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008. She currently lives in Toronto where she curates a reading series, reads tarot, and teaches poetics. In this guest post, Hoa tells us about the relationship between technique in her poems and in other modes of expression.

A Complex Occasion of Forces

Poetry inhabits visual and aural realms. How it sounds, how it lands on the page, how it invokes images, and how it resonates in a body—all this can be part of the experience of a poem. As a poet, I want elements to register and interplay “as a complex occasion of forces” (Dale Smith).

While I don’t work in a two-dimensional space with pigment like visual artists do, my aims are similar. I’m not interested in a “photographic” rendering of experience, but a field of possibilities that readers can enter. Poet Lindsay Ruoff from Portland, Ore., wrote to me last fall after the publication of my early uncollected poems, RED JUICE: Poems 1998 -2008. She observed that “these small poems are so full of openness to the world, to the self, and to the possibility of a poem… During my first reading of your book, I just kept wanting to take a bath with a beetroot, to let that garden in.”

Recently artist Kirsten Turner created this video collage for one of these poems, singing the poem and setting it to music, another kind of blending of sound and sight. About it she writes, “‘They float’, [painter] Philip Trussell once said about Hoa Nguyen’s poems. I floated this one on a river of green light and sound. I was meditating on the subject of death and Hoa’s poem, ‘Roll in your skull gone green’ came to me.”

Roll in your skull gone green

Roll in your skull gone green

like a mossy cog that wings

Sing the good times

You seem a tiny wrecked thing to me

something sacred where time as gone

old and green      Norse

hymns bringing dawn

When I hear “they float”, I think of Hans Hoffman’s Push Pull theory of visual art, where one overlaps warm and cool colors to create depth and/or movement on a flat canvas. Like poets before me, I’ve considered how to do this with language, how to texturize the language via etymology, duration, use.

Hoa Nguyen visits the Brockton Writers Series Wednesday, March 4, 2015—full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (6:30pm, PWYC)—along with Karen Connelly, Waubgeshig Rice and Joyce Wayne. The event begins with a special guest talk, “Go Social: Using crowds, comments and community to gain influence online,” by Zoe Di Novi of Wattpad.



Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “BWS 04.03.2015: Hoa Nguyen

  1. Pingback: BWS 10.05.17: Ian Keteku | Brockton Writers Series

  2. Pingback: BWS 10.05.17: Mary Lou Dickinson | Brockton Writers Series

  3. Pingback: BWS 10.05.17: Catherine Hernandez | Brockton Writers Series

  4. Pingback: BWS 10.05.17: Ayesha Chatterjee | Brockton Writers Series

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s