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eohippus labs (los angeles) has released a small collection by Korean/American authors exploring inherited trauma. I’m incredibly thankful to be included in this collection, which was edited and introduced by Janice Lee, with essays by Don Mee Choi, Chiwan Choi, and Saehee Cho.

When I saw the galley proofs last month, a tremor moved through me reading these essays. It’s hard to articulate han, it literally overwhelms me. I’ve tried in other spaces, but seeing this shared effort with my literary kin opened something inside me. Such gratitude.

This is a bit belated, but I wrote a short statement about my time in Norway for the residency, Kunstnarhuset Messen. You can check it out here.

Also, I’ll be returning there next January to experience starlight and darkness. I’ll be collecting footage for the next installment of my videopoem project, and have already been drafting out shots I’d like to take. I can’t believe this is all really happening! I’ll be spending 6 weeks in the subarctic–2 in Norway, and then the month of February in Iceland. I’m hoping one of my friends and collaborators, Michele Kishita, will make it out to Iceland for some of that time with me. We’ve been engaged in a long discussion about light and water.

Sometimes research is a lifeline, a beautiful kaleidoscope that unveils a myriad horizon. At other times, it is the haunted umbilical cord that pulls at your center. Such pain.

I’m researching into cultural trauma. It is “funny” to read into something that feels so intimate to me. The traumas of war, displacement, domestic abuse,”the nation,” racial logics — these have left black fingerprints all over my family’s portraits. It ate my marriage. And still I sing! I am known for my sunny disposition!

I think about this term, “postmemory.” The psychological multi-generational fallout of trauma. A cultural violence, distilled into our bodies. KOЯEANs know it so well. We call it 한. I know HAN by a sort of native birthright, I suppose. It courses through me. It is not all of me, but it is mine. HAN. A deep sorrow, anguish, bitterness. Where are its roots? A heartrending sound, it pierces. It has an elemental depth. It hurts, it is familiar. Is this how continents are born? This beautiful folk singer, 김영임, has it coursing through her voice.

I’ve described it a bit previously in my review of Kim Hye-Soon’s poetry. I’ve written to and from it in so many places.

HAN is not just a feeling or a sound. It is also a gesture, a feeling inside your body. I have been working to release it through movements. I hesitate to call it dance. I meditate. I become filled with a mood. This mood moves me. I give into it.

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Can I climb this thorny rope that reaches from my guts, out of my throat, and into the sky? Can I climb this thorny rope into a new element, a new figure, a new light? Without ambition. Without hope. How may I climb.

Tell me the story / Of all of these things. / Beginning wherever you wish, tell even us.