2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR POETRY
A collection inspired by Hoa’s mother, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-woman Vietnamese circus troupe, is verse meditation on Vietnam’s diaspora.
Hoa Nguyen’s latest collection is a poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-“Fall-of-Saigon” and comprises a verse biography on her mother, Diep Anh Nguyen, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-woman Vietnamese circus troupe. Multilayered, plaintive, and provocative, the poems in A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure are alive with archive and inhabit histories. In turns lyrical and unsettling, her poetry sings of language and loss; dialogues with time, myth and place; and communes with past and future ghosts.
Seeds and Crumbs
Ask about Language As If It Forgets
Naming Assembles You
We Run on Trash Grass
The Flying Motorist Artist
Red She Broke the Cup
Netting (Language Ghost)
Learning the Đàn Bầu
Diệp Before Completion
Less Than Slash Three
Tryouts for the Flying Motorist Artist Team, 1958
German Tightrope Acrobat Group Paid a Visit to the Vietnamese Hùng Việt Female Flying Motorist Artist Group
Tones in the Vietnamese Language
Why This Haunted Middle and Door Hung with Haunted Girl Bones
from Vogue Magazine 1970
Sing Ding (Ghostly)
Vietnam Ghost Story: High School Clock Tower
Red Shoes Girl Song
from On “New Music” (Tân Nhạc): Notes Toward a Social History of Vietnamese Music in the Twentieth Century
Mother’s River Moon (Traveling with the Traveling Circus, Lower Mekong, 1959)
Notes on Operation Hades
Feast of the First Morning of the First Day
Dang You Then a Dang
Unrelated Future Tense
"I come back to Hoa Nguyen’s poems all the time and every single time I find a new world of meaning"
—Gabrielle Calvocoressi, PEN America
Nguyen remains one of the most powerful, vivid, and even visceral contemporary poets working today.
—Dan Shewan, The Rumpus