Interviewing Ocean Vuong for the Seattle Public Library

Listen to the interview here

Read the transcript here

Excerpt of interview

Jess: Reading this book for me was such a sensory experience. I felt like when I read it, I read it with my whole body. There were parts of it that felt like home, that smelt like home, that sounded like home.  I saw you posted a Spotify playlist that was kind of the playlist the soundtrack of you writing this, and I was wondering what foods and scents you were surrounded by as you manifested this

Ocean: Oh Lord, I work whenever I can, and I work at night so often I. I wrote a lot of this book in New York and some of it in New England. And it’s usually just the smell of dew and wood fire coming through the window. But I think I went back to to all the sensory details and the richness of Connecticut and the tobacco farm that I worked on, the barns, the Vietnamese kitchen which is its own world. And the sounds and the textures. I wanted the book to have an embodied sense of knowledge, because for so many of us immigrants and refugees, when your tongue is gone, when English is not available to you, you have to learn other languages – the language of the body, the language of vigilance, and I was taught by these women to look at the world and read the world with not only words, but the way people move, to understand how people look at you, to understand it, to make my way through sense and sound to understand the tone.

To Burn is to be Alive

Dear Jess,

I love you. 

I don’t remember the last time that I thought that, let alone put pen to paper and etched it into my mind. 

This is a love letter to you and the journey that you have been on. 

A journey that started in your grandmother’s womb.

Continue Reading

Just going to leave this here…

“Another hot button topic in our country right now is illegal immigration. Often you’ll hear people (mostly those critical of immigrant rights) use the phrase “Illegals” when talking about undocumented immigrants. Yet Holocaust Survivor and world-renown writer and activist Elie Wiesel has famously told us that, “no human being is illegal.” His reasoning:

“Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal… Once you label a people ‘illegal,’ that is exactly what the Nazis did to Jews.””

From this great article

11 Things

WOMENS-MARCH-DC-2017-317.jpgPhoto by Molly Adams

1. When it comes to sex, sometimes we just need to crack on

2. Angela Davis in Conversation

3. 6 Reasons We Need to Dismantle the Model Minority Myth of Those ‘Hard-Working’ Asians

4. What Does American-ness Mean for East Asian Americans?

5. Mariame Kaba, modern abolitionist, on feminism that fights state violence

6. State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave: 1855

7. Laura Kipnis’ Battle Against Vulnerability

8. Sacrifice

9. Why I bought my daughter heroin

10. Fighting Cuba’s Boxing Ban

11. The Wish List I Made After My Wife Almost Died

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