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Encore: The ghost well cared-for: Hoa Nguyen’s ‘A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure’

Hoa Nguyen
Hoa Nguyen

What is a divinatory poetics? Can texts be haunted? This week, we return to a 2021 conversation with Toronto-based poet Hoa Nguyen, who dives into the narratives that prompted and sit within her new book of poetry, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave Books). Host Lauren Korn chats with Hoa about the aftermath of the Atlanta shootings, the motorcycle troupe Hoa’s mother was a part of in the 1950s and ’60s, the many ways a text can haunt, and more!

About Hoa:

Hoa Nguyen is the author of several books of poetry, including As Long As Trees LastRed 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, GrantaThe WalrusNew 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.

Hoa Nguyen recommends:

The poetry of John Keats

Dictée by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (University of California Press)

The prose of Saidiya Hartman

Lauren Korn recommends:

Violet Energy Ingots by Hoa Nguyen (Wave Poetry)

DMZ Colonyby Don Mee Choi (Wave Poetry)

Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics by Selah Saterstrom (Essay Press)

The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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