Diana Khoi Nguyen at Harvard Book Store
Root Fractures: Poems
in conversation with CINDY JUYOUNG OK
February 5, 2024
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes DIANA KHOI NGUYEN—author of Ghost Of—for a discussion of her new poetry collection Root Fractures. She will be joined in conversation by CINDY JUYOUNG OK—author of Ward Toward.
About Root Fractures
In Root Fractures, Diana Khoi Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations of the family come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty and personal risk, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives.
As Terrance Hayes writes, “‘There is nothing that is not music’ for this poet. Poetry is found in the gaps, silences, and ruptures of history.” This astonishing second collection renders poetry into an act of kintsugi, embellishing what is broken in a family’s legacy so that it can be seen in a new light.
Praise for Root Fractures
“In Root Fractures, we come face-to-face with a dark gravitational pull, the great black hole of war. Through the Vietnamese American experience, Diana Khoi Nguyen languages a feeling many of us can relate to, so often buried, silent and deep, within land, blood, bone, into molecular DNA . . . As they ‘illuminate what once was broken,’ each of these poems glimmers and pulses along a pathway out—not for one person alone, but as enduring starlight, for generations to come.” —Layli Long Soldier, author of Whereas
“When I say that Diana Khoi Nguyen’s work is deeply moving and unsettling, I mean that her words move and unsettle ideas about diaspora, identity, and loss in startling and gorgeous ways. I can’t get enough of this devastation.” —Beth Nguyen, author of Owner of a Lonely Heart
“In Diana Khoi Nguyen's beautiful and heartbreaking book, Root Fractures, the leaping imagistic declarative sentence becomes fractured and unreliable, as a way to parse and thread memories and feelings. Stacked to the sky, the declaratives become tenuous and subjunctive, leaning under the weight of family, history, and trauma from displacement and a brother's suicide.” —Victoria Chang, author of With My Back to the World
Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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