by James Lindsay
In his introduction to Red Juice (poems 1998-2008), Anselm Berrigan describes the poetry of Hoa Nguyen as, “sonic environments made word by word, provoked by lived experience into forms that, as she puts it, ‘press in and out.’” And indeed, much like the work of Emily Dickinson or Frank O’Hara, there is an everydayness, a beginning in the here and now that fuels Nguyen’s work, but it’s also shadowed by a doubtful “inner” undercurrent that comments on the action. As readers we are offered a free association of commonplace, domestic, or political images, contrasted by a stream of unconsciousness that organizes the images in precarious, uncertain ways. These poems, frugal in wording, are demonstrations of reaching, but not reaching towards something that can be possessed, reaching as the act of extending thought in an attempt to stretch it, observing how it acts as it elongates. Wave Books will publish her new collection, Violet Energy Ingots, this September.