Digressive Parenthesis

Hoa Nguyen

copyright ©2016

Make heart-shaped cakes
for the Queen of Heaven

Things that make you cry:
Geode stone pulse

That plant named wizard’s herb
When the state of Michigan sells

“pristine treaty-protected land”
to make a limestone mine

I dreamt the spider crossed
my eye and I crushed it

into my eye     Why is the first
day the hardest day?     The city

susurrus     Are us     especially
if you get to keep the money

Notes on the Poem

Our Poem of the Week is “Digressive Parenthesis,“ from Hoa Nguyen’s 2017 Griffin-shortlisted Violet Energy Inglots (Wave Books). Of the collection, the judges said: “Hoa Nguyen’s poems tread delicately but firmly between the linear demands of narrative and syntax on the one hand and between registers of speech and forms of address on the other. There are spaces for breath, and asides hovering in parentheses. There are also the slippages in language, in the slide from, say ‘staring’ through ‘starving’ and ‘starring’ to ‘scarring’. Everything is at once tangential yet surprisingly direct.” Don’t forget to check out Nguyen’s latest book, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave Books), finalist for the 2021 National Book Award and winner of the Canada Book Award.

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