Forms & Ruptures: A Lunch and Poetry Reading with Award-Winning Writers

by Asian American Cultural Center (AACC)

Lecture, Talk, or Panel Alumni Asian American Cultural Center DEI

Fri, Mar 29, 2024

12 PM – 1:30 PM EDT (GMT-4)

Add to Calendar

Private Location (register to display)




Diana Khoi Nguyen and Cindy Juyoung Ok '14 read and converse at the collapsing center of narrative, depiction, and noise. How do violence and liberation move the Asian American body, and where does its language start, stop, and meander? What stays in between and without sound, space, or silence in the generational aftermath of U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam? The award-winning writers share varied rendering of gaps—resistances, ruptures, and fissures—as well as their closing or widening through translation, experimentation, and reframing. In poetry and conversation, attendees are brought into the instability of memory, the force of survival, and the delights of language.

ROOTWARDS: a joint tour of Root Fractures and Ward Toward, books featured in the most anticipated lists of Literary Hub and The Millions.

In the 118th volume in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Ward Toward moves assuredly between spaces—from the psych ward to a prison cell, from divided cities to separated bodies, from the family members left beyond the DMZ to a hospice ward that is the site of neglect. Ok plumbs the connections between these institutions of constraint, ward to ward, and the role of language, word to word, as she uncovers not only fissures and confinement but hope, humor, and connection. Using visual poetry and found text, she counters familiar narratives about mental illness, abuse, and death, positing that it is not a person’s character or will that makes survival possible, but luck, and other people. How do pagodas, Seinfeld, ransoms, swans, and copays each make or refuse meaning? Ok’s energizing debut begins the work of breaking language to find the fissures where it can be re-assembled into a new reality.

National Book Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist Diana Khoi Nguyen's second poetry collection is a haunting of a family's past upon its present, and a frank reckoning with how loss and displacement transform mothers and daughters across generations. In Root Fractures, Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations of the family come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty and personal risk, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives. This astonishing second collection renders poetry into an act of kintsugi, embellishing what is broken in a family's legacy so that it can be seen in a new light.
Food Provided

Hosted By

Asian American Cultural Center (AACC) | Website | View More Events

Contact the organizers