The week’s show features the poetry of Joseph Han plus a musical playlist curated by the author himself.
Joseph Han was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He is the author of a poetry chapbook, Orphan (Tinfish Press, 2015). His recent work has appeared in Entropy, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, The Feminist Wire, and Bamboo Ridge Press. He is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing and composition. You can connect with him at joseph-han.com. He tweets @hanjoseph.
“Ode to the Stroke That Took Half”: Recently, I read a Sherman Alexie story that said something like, and I’m paraphrasing, it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, as long as it’s a glass of cold beer. I’ve always been told that Koreans can really drink, so the angst-ridden, loose-lipped bravado fueled by passion that can quite easily turn into anger or depression, another stereotype of Koreans, is easily recognizable to me through my grandfather. I’ve been told that my own tolerance for alcohol has been inherited from my grandfather. As an immigrant, I guess I’m obsessed with this theme of inheritance. My grandfather’s addiction has since immobilized him after he had suffered a severe stroke. The implication of what happened to his body still shakes me. This poem becomes a toast of sorts—an act of communion.
“Organogenesis”: I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about division and separation in relation to Korea and elsewhere, and how these divides become embodied, causing psychic and emotional damage—how they necessitate healing and reconciliation. How they speak to longing and desire. So, this poem is about various living things that can regenerate themselves. There’s that sometimes silly, sometimes true “better half” spiel that speaks to how we become a part of the people dearest to us—conjoined, partnered, what have you—so this poem addresses this notion of longing as losing those missed and missing parts.
- Moses Sumney, “Plastic”
- Poem: Ode to the Stroke that Took Half
- Anderson .Paak, The Bird
- Jidenna, “Bambi”
- Poem: Organogenesis
- Blood Orange, “Time Will Tell”
- Miles Davis, Robert Glasper ft. Phonte, “Violets”