On leaving

January 30, 2011

“[L]eaving home is mere practice / For leaving all, all the leavings learned / Again and again, until goodbye becomes / Addictive, last look behind, first look forward, / What you carry everywhere.”
—Shirley Geok-lin Lim, “Bogie Hole” from Walking Backwards

I just finished this latest collection from Shirley Geok-lin Lim, a poet who was recommended to me a couple years ago because of her connection to Malaysia, the place that contributes to half of my own background.  During my undergraduate years, Li-Young Lee was easily the only Asian poet I’d encountered, and it surprises me how much I’ve been able to read the past couple years to add to that.  How lucky I am to have explored his work more as well as the work of others in such a short time.  Lim’s poetry has a special significance for me, though, and this last book seemed to arrive at just the right time.


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