By Hoa Nguyen
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN# 9781950268177 (6 x 8, 144pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781950268184 (6 x 8, 144pp, limited edition hardcover)
A poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-“Fall-of-Saigon” with verse biography on the poet's mother, Diệp Anh Nguyễn, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-women Vietnamese circus troupe. Multilayered, plaintive, and provocative, the poems in A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure are alive with archive and inhabit histories. By turns lyrical and unsettling, Hoa Nguyen's poetry sings of language and loss; dialogues with time, myth and place; and communes with past and future ghosts.
It certainly lives up to the nominations, prizes, and rapturous reviews the author garnered from her previous works which includes As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008 and Violet Energy Ingots. From the leaping quality of the poems, to the way each poem slips quietly into a different landscape as the page turns, this collection is not easily absorbed, internalized, and appreciated.
—Angeline Kek, Asia Media International
“I rename myself a bell to ring,” Nguyen writes, and that bell rings with impressive tonal and melodic versality throughout her work. This dense collection, rife with the life of the body, is proof of what language can bear witness to, a testament Nguyen makes wholly her own.
—Starred review from Publishers Weekly
Nguyen's latest tells the story of Diệp Anh Nguyễn, the author's mother and a daredevil motorcyclist whose portrait — seductively and maniacally posing on her bike — appears at the beginning of the collection. An investigation of mothers and motherlands, devilry and diaspora, this book chronicles her mother's story but delivers almost nothing in the way of facts or events. Nguyen pulls off a paradox, a biography composed of gestures, the sort of thing that could only happen in poetry.
—Ken Chen, NPR
This is a book of anti-gravitational forces where the reader experiences the slamming of celestial and earthly realms into one another: moons crashing into earth, colonizer maps turned upside down, rivers parting like lovers, sonnets tied to the sky, and stars spilling womb-song.
—Megan Fernandes, Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation
Hoa Nguyen is the author of several books of poetry, including As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice, and Violet Energy Ingots, which received a 2017 Griffin Prize nomination. As a public proponent and advocate of contemporary poetry, she has served as guest editor for The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2018 and judge for the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry, and has performed and lectured at numerous institutions, including Princeton University, Bard College, Poet’s House, and the Banff Centre’s Writers Studio. Recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize and a 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature nomination, she has received grants and fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her writing has garnered attention from such outlets as The PBS News Hour, Granta, The Walrus, New York Times, and Poetry, among others. Born in the Mekong Delta and raised and educated in the United States, Nguyen has lived in Canada since 2011.