on getting Why is the Edge Always Windy? out! How long did it take
for you to write it?
Thanks. I first finished
it in 2000, with a different title. Then finished it again in 2001, with
yet a different title. Then in 2003, I finished it again, with yet another
different title. Every year Iíve been looking at it and seeing something
that needed to be revised. During those years, I was working on a different
book of poems on the Argentine tango, which was finished, yet needed to be
did you know it was complete?
I worked on it
until I thought it was right.
your family been supportive of you as a writer?
preferred that I become a medical doctor, like the rest of the family.
Though, I do think that at this point in my life, I think they are
supportive of me.
looks like you've been all over. Do you feel your experiences in these
different geographical locations has had a specific bearing on your work?
I think so.
Traveling and living in many places informs my experiential reservoir, and
this is what I draw from when writing.
official blurb text describes Why Is the Edge Always Windy as a stunning
book of revelations, nightmares, and love poems, cross-cultural and
historically compelling, and talks about your "being" in many cities, among
other things. But going deeper than that, what conclusions, if any, does Why
Is the Edge Always Windy propose? What ties these themes all together for
The work is a
collection of poems written during a period of time, during these awful
times. Perhaps one conclusion of many would be that going to war is
ultimately a mistake, and that peaceful measures should be taken at all
costs before going to war.
I think that the
basic theme would be that we are all connected, all nations, all peoples,
and that before creating violence and havoc in the world, we should realize
this connectedness within ourselves and outside of ourselves, and try to
live in peace. This is the gloss.
poems are basically all love poems, because in the end, all poems are love
there a particular poem that you think would serve as a good introduction to
The prose poem
ďSand, Flies and FishĒ from my first collection, Song of the Cicadas, would
be good to start out.
has response from the Vietnamese community been to your work?
think. Some of my poems have been translated into Vietnamese, and I have
been formally ďintroducedĒ to the Vietnamese public in various Vietnamese
literary journals and newspapers. The Vietnamese-American community,
likewise, has been equally positive, if not more so.
AAP: Whatís been the most
difficult thing for you as a writer?
Finding publishers for my
writing. There is less and less funding now for literary works of art, less
funding for university presses.
AAP: Whatís next for you?
More writing. As mentioned
earlier, I finished a book of poems on the Argentine tango, called Milonga:
A Seismology. Iím looking for a publisher for this right now. Also, Iím
working on a multimedia art project that would include dance and video. As
you might know, I am also a visual artist.
AAP: Who have some of your
favorite writers been?
Hart Crane, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marcel Proust, Camus are
just a few.
AAP: How do you find time
to balance your personal life, your professional life and writing?
Itís difficult, and perhaps Iím
not balanced, but I just try my best. What I canít do, I just accept and
try not to regret.
AAP: What attracts you to
poetry more than, say, the short story form, or play writing or the novel?
Well, Iím writing short stories
now, have tried to write plays, and have flirted with the novel form. All
of these genres are attractive to me, and perhaps some day, if I live long
enough, I would write something of value in each of these genres.
AAP: Do you have any advice
for younger writers?
Of course, read as much as you
can of good writing and work hard at your craft. There are no other
substitutes; nothing comes easy. Even Mozart worked hard day and night.