Sunday Apr 14

HahnKimiko--creditNancyBareis Kimiko Hahn is the author of nine books and often finds that disparate sources have triggered her material—whether Flaubert’s sex-tour in The Unbearable Heart, an exhumation in The Artist's Daughter or classical Japanese forms in The Narrow Road to the Interior.   Rarified fields of science prompted her latest collections Toxic Flora and forthcoming Brain Fever (both W.W. Norton). She has also written text for film (Ain't Nuthin' But a She-Thing 1995 MTV special and Everywhere at Once 2008 film based on Peter Lindbergh’s still photos and narrated by Jeanne Moreau). Hahn’s most recent award was a Guggenheim Fellowship and she is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, City University of New York.


Things that Make Me Feel Homesick

Wrigley Spearmint gum


Yellow light through black leaves and branches. It's fall or winter in the woods across the street.

A whale breaching—although that was Mother. On Maui.

Hearing a mother speak Japanese to a baby.

Also mildew. And mulch. (But do these convey home or homesick? Can I tell the difference--?)

And poster paint.

Antidote: Raisinettes

Cigarette smoke swirling in a small room reminds me of student days with my boyfriend. His cigarettes. Our new electric typewriter. Typewriter ribbon.

Our Bodies, Our Selves


Oh, yes, and carbon paper

Things One Should Not Write About in Poetry
—after Sei Shonagon

French bulldog puppies, butterflies in general, peonies because of the sound of the word, penis because of the sound of the word, and magnolia, likewise.

Craigslist and/or internet chatroom ads where “tatooed teen knife fetishisht” responded to “looking for violent sex” and hooked up with “older gentleman” who he stabbed fifty-times in the neck; sixteen-year-old Bronx girl arranged to meet a man and was met by three—had sex with two and was raped the by third, an assault that triggered a fatal asthma attack; thirteen-year-old Connecticut girl arranged to meet married man at a shopping mall and after sex he strangled her then dumped her body; Brooklyn bus driver arranged to meet a young man who stabbed him to death with a screw driver.

Avanti: 12 bottle wine cooler, save $20

Vomit, also partly because of the sound of the word

(I think CE once said he was tired of the word "shards" in poetry.)

Dreams, in general

Harold said he can’t think of any subject in any genre one shouldn’t write about. I said if
I wrote some shit about him, he'd divorce me and he agreed.

W says not to write about him; another W says write first then decide.

F said her butt is “smooth as a porn star’s” and I wonder if that isn't something I
shouldn’t write about.

Maybe, Cannibal Holocaust, Part 2

Definitely for me: surgery that required the eight-screws and a plate.

Things I Am Beginning to Forget

I cannot recall who exactly was told what by whom when my mother died. I know that Ted jumped from the bed to answer the phone at--what? 1:00 am?   The neighbor, Mrs. Sugg who is now dead, called to tell us. But then, when did detective call? I do remember that I pulled on a pair of trousers instead of jeans because it seemed a more appropriate thing to wear to the E.R. to see my father who did not yet know that mother was dead. That she had died "instantly." I do remember that Ted asked Doug to take a cab uptown to take care of the girls. And that I called my sister but only told her that there had been an accident--or did I tell her mother was dead?

Which daughter painted which of the unmarked painting.

A few guys in college—if I slept with them or not. And who cares. I was not particularly promiscuous but I wasn't always particular, either. Maybe I wanted to see men who were
a little suspect, even in the brains department.

(I do remember that I bought Harold's first poison bottle in Rome, NY.)

How to drive

Funnily enough, I can't recall the last lines of "What Lips These Lips Have Kissed"!

Hahn photo credit: Nancy Bareis