Kimberly Nguyen

Here I Am, Burn Me

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Q&A with Kimberly Nguyen

What's the most effective writing process you've wanted to try and is that the method you currently use?

 

I think the most effective writing process is regularity, and by that I mean setting aside time to write at the same time each day. The brain is like a muscle. When you start getting it into the practice of doing its best work at a certain time each day, writing will feel routine to your brain. I have ADHD and struggle with consistency and regularity, so no, this is unfortunately not the method I currently use.

 

If a reader fell in love with your work, how would they describe it to a friend?

 

I hope that they'd describe it as memorable, but at the very least, I think they'd describe it as accessible and emotive. My friends also tell me that they don't usually like poetry, but that they like mine, so I think readers would also describe my work as "poems for people who don't like poetry".

 

Does poetry actually heal?

 

Yes. Absolutely. I have a theory that when a trauma happens, it's like a nail that rips a hole in the fabric of space and time, and then all the threads of time keep wrapping around that nail. For me, poetry is the art of unwrapping time from that nail so that the trauma can be laid to rest and time can move past it.

 

Your poetry discusses family quite a bit, does your family read your poetry? If they do can you explain what this feels like? 

 

They do not read my poems, and I used to resent it a little bit, but the deeper I dive into my writing career, the more I realize how much of a blessing this is. I think this makes me a more honest poet. It's like when you're a kid and you lie to the doctor because your mom is in the room. I get to say my most honest truths because my parents aren't there reading them.

Your poetry confronts intergenerational trauma, can you discuss what it feels like to unpack this trauma on the page?

 

It feels like finally scratching a really bad itch. There's also something so empowering in taking the narrative back from trauma and not letting trauma write and rewrite your story anymore. I have never written a single poem out of spite or even to call out people who hurt me. I wrote the poems because I was wounded, and it was the only way I knew how to heal that wound.