Annie Kim’s reading on June 25 (with Robin MacArthur—see Owen’s recent blog post) is, one, a reading of poetry that explores Annie’s childhood in Korea and how that intersects with her later life in America, and, two, (drum roll) her first visit to Vermont. Those two things—poems about Korea/America and first-time-in-Vermont—somehow seem important.
What will Annie think of our rolling blue-green hills and mountains, the morning mist caught in the valleys, the fields of buttercups, and the cows, always the cows, black, brown, white, caught in the act of grazing, or standing in a herd facing the same direction as if needing the last rays of the evening sun to warm their milky udders or their dribbling noses? What will she think of taciturn Vermonters, the real Vermonters, who drawl their r’s and down maple syrup as if it’s water?
Because she’s a poet (and a lawyer and a musician!), Annie Kim notices things, reflects on them, turns them over and over, views them from a multitude of directions. She will do with Vermont as she does with her childhood in Seoul or her handling of a violin sonata: stare, savor, think, write.
It will be a pleasure indeed to hear Annie read aloud her own “sonatas,” her own looking- and thinking-poems about places she’s been and people she’s known. In her first book Into the Cyclorama (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2016) which won the Michael Waters Poetry Prize, you hear:
at the edge I sometimes catch wisps of my big white childhood
. . . the children make up games like
jump down steps catch leaves with your stick in
the flat brown water that’s a drainage ditch
my sister says years later you used to play in it
Our house in Seoul had two front doors:
one for the humans, one for the rabbits.
The rabbits had no inside bathroom, no
refrigerator stocked with ice cream.
You want to read on, don’t you, follow the rhythms, delve into the place, get inside the kid? Annie, welcome to Vermont, hope you like it; we can’t wait to hear your voice.