I lived on 107th street with my parents until 1992. We were the only Koreans on our block. Where were the others?
I am reading Louise Bogan’s bio again, connecting with the turmoil of her young life. She recalls her mother as being unhappy and ready to take it out on her family. Her mother had relations with other men while exacting inappropriate feelings from her son. I understand being raised by a mother mired in an unrequited life, but I wish I could extricate myself from her long tail of dissatisfaction and chaos.
What does it mean to be an emerging writer? Is it that when you are new and full of hope?
Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool
And when is it that you can stop “emerging”? And who gets to decide?
I’m almost fifty, do I have enough time to evolve from my emerging status? When can I shed the husk of amatuer?
Max Beckman: “Woman with Mandolin in Yellow and Red” (1950)
I talked to my publisher Bob Hershon who’s been publishing and writing for over fifty years about the plight of the emerging writer and he expertly noted that the moniker “new writer” is the better description. With a fifteenth collection under his belt, I can’t disagree.
But how can one be a new writer in their fifth decade?
I am writing my second collection of poetry and I am slow going. The first one took me over five years. And I’m super proud of my work, but it doesn’t make writing the second book any easier––layers of complicated feelings and memories that works as the cruxt of your work, but often the obstacle of your progress.
I still remember the feeling of being lifted up and bathed in a pure light. An awakening.
Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay, NY
I bet that’s what flowers feel when they are about to burst open to the world after being asleep for all that time.
Camellia on the verge
I identified with Bogan as a poet who struggled to keep the demons of her childhood in check. Actually it was just one demon: her unstable mother who fought with her father, disappeared for regular stretches, and placed her in unsavory situations. You can read about these Mother-horror tales in Elizabeth Frank’s Bogan bio, but what it comes down to is the most harrowing feeling of being abandoned as a young child that probably scarred her the most. That scars all of us the most.
You split into the heat,
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
–– excerpted from “The Dragonfly” by Louise Bogan,