“I think so much of engaging in poetry (and in all art, at least art that’s not terrible and designed to preserve structures of power and oppression) is an exercise in empathy. Maybe at its base, poetry is paying close attention and then putting intentional language to communicate to another person what you’ve found.”
I’m not as concerned about the endings or how people interpret them as I am in showing a change or shift—by the end of the story—in the characters’ hearts. Also, I think open endings require a little more work of the reader; that, when a scene or story is left open, the reader gets to imagine for him/herself how things might’ve turned out.
Among this book’s major themes and images is that of the house—that structure that is often what holds a family. What happens when that house is emptied of its inhabitants? When that house has grown vacant, or has become abandoned by the departure or passing of those who lived there?
“Simple images, such as the dandelion in the sidewalk crack or ice in lemonade, invite us to compare our own experience and find meaning where there was none before. More complex, but equally intangible experiences can be found in poems like ‘Rearrangements,’ which explores the aftereffects of covert child abuse, although each victim is different.”
“This intense, absurd tragedy, I realize now, is my invisible foundation. The myth of Pei Pei is born here—an image that picks up the devastation between Nietzsche and the world and between me and Hong Kong. The dead part of me still lingers in Hong Kong through Pei Pei.”