Life in Germany/Reading Louise Gluck & Charles D'Ambrosio
Well here I am in Germany. There were many things that sold me on the job that I do and one of them was that I could live internationally. My wife and kids are Asian-American (Korean) so my goal was always to get to Korea. Try as I may, I have never been able to get a transfer to Korea, but somehow I have ended up in a location most people in my organizaton would find at least somewhat desirable--the Bavarian countryside, about 30 minutes from the Czech border.
It's beautiful country here, reminding me of my homestate of Michigan. Where I work is very professional and tightly run in all the right ways. I'm grateful to be here.
Change is never easy though. Coming here I had to leave behind what I knew in Guam, and as fate would have it my wife and two children because my eldest son is in his senior year and didn't want to change high schools mid-year. Not easy to live separate lives like this but I think for him remaining has been good. For one thing, having a familiar school's support on the college application process has been great. So far my eldest has been accepted to every university he's applied to, including the competitive ones. Very proud of him. Second son just 4 pointed the semester at his new school, and my daughter who remained behind also got all A's. Being married to a Korean woman as I am, I have learned to value these things. :) In any case, I look forward to our family reuniting and all living together in the coming months, my eldest son taking a big step into manhood by heading off to college in the states while we continue to live overseas, my second son not far behind him, my daughter under the same roof as me with our dog Sparky. Of course I am grateful for my wife who has stood by us all despite the crazy life we lead. I am glad we will be together this summer as we prepare to start a new chapter of our lives in Germany.
Usually I don't write about my personal life here, but having written next to nothing in months I want to just write whatever seems appropriate to fill in the gaps. This blog is as much a personal catalog of moments as well as public--as much as I'm comfortable making public, that is.
With all the changes I am astonished anything is happening with writing but some things are. David Angstead and Elias Kuhlman are currently at work designing and illustrating An Homage to Green Tea, a book of Korean literature in translation on the topic of green tea. The illustrations are amazing and the design presentation of the book also is top knotch. I think they are about half-way done and then it will be sending out book proposals. Homage is a cool take on a classical piece of Korean literature that hasn't been done before--I'm looking forward to moving ahead with that one. The other thing is Ninth Letter's most recent issue has the prize winning Nansorhon poem in translation Taeyoung and I did. Feeling good about that too.
I just finished The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio which has a good range of topics, diction, and tone. Now I'm reading Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck which I honestly expected to be kind of a dud but tonally is spot on. In fact I think that's the strength of the book--at least as far as I've gotten with it. Feels a lot like recent WS Merwin in terms of tone, and in reading it the sense I have gotten is only an older wizened person could write like this. I wonder how a younger me would have read this book because I have liked Louise Gluck poetry but this is the first time I can remember really responding to her writing in a sustained way. And for anyone keeping track of po-biz, I will side with the judges on the NB Award. I don't think there's any controversy here; Gluck's book is more human and universal in theme than her closest challenger. Combine that with the extraordinary tonal craft which so clearly is born from a wise and exceptionally open writer and I can't think of any other book out there deserving to win the most recent NB Award for poetry.
Well, the craziness of my life continues as tomorrow I have to be somewhere at 6:30 AM and it's already 11:00 PM. I won't post links and such. If I can't get motivated or find the time to do instagram etc. then I guess I will have to live with not linking every little thing I mentoned here. Just google if interested. :)
Good night all.