Kimiko Hahn shares her Brief But Spectacular take on the power of poetry.
Dara Weir interviews Kimiko Hahn in issue No. 31. (Interview and four poems are not available online)
“I love to take The Classic Tradition of Haiku…and have the students select one haiku that has several translations. With these and the transliteration, they must come up with their own.”
“When using rich source material, the dilemma is always what to trim out. The details or diction might be captivating but that’d doesn’t mean it belongs in the poem.”
“I often select words that suggest several meanings in an attempt to burst out of a linear experience. The word acts as a kind of pivot, which in Japanese is known as kakekotoba…”
“My father, a visual artist, told me that it was easier to paint evil things than good—hence I grew up with large canvases of medusa, skeletons, bird-with-teeth.”
“All my material issues from deep and very personal concerns whether it’s for girls to be able to express anger or the melting of glaciers.”
“Ambiguity is the opposite of clarity—so, in my mind, it shares a necessary relationship to clarity…”
“In order to express oneself genuinely must a woman reinvent language to meet her own needs and subvert hegemony?”
Read essays on Hahn’s work in these books: Poetry for Students, Translational Asian American Literature: Sites and Transits, Orient and Orientalisms in American Poetry and Poetics, So There It Is: an exploration of cultural hybridity in contemporary Asian American poetry, Masking Selves, Making Subjects: Japanese American Women, Identity, and the Body, The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity in Asian American Poetry, Form and Transformation in Asian American Literature, and In Eleven More American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Poetics Across North America.