Kimiko Hahn is the author seven books of poems, including: Earshot (Hanging Loose Press, 1992), which was awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award; The Unbearable Heart (Kaya, 1996), which received an American Book Award; and The Narrow Road to the Interior (W.W. Norton, 2006), its title stolen from Basho’s famous poetic journal, Okunohosomichi. Hahn has also written text for film, such as the 1995 commission of for a two-hour HBO special titled Ain't Nuthin' But a She-Thing (for which she also recorded the voice-overs); and most recently, a text for Holly Fisher’s film based on Peter Lindbergh’s still photos and narrated by Jeanne Moreau. Among her editorial projects is Issue 122 of The Tri-Quarterly Review, in which she focused on writers that have a history of using outside source material. Hahn is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. She has taught in the creative writing programs at The University of Houston, New York University, and Sarah Lawrence College and is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA program at Queens College/CUNY.
Academy of American Poets
from THE NARROW ROAD TO THE INTERIOR
by Kimiko Hahn
excerpt from "Sparrow"
Does the wren cry
when it cries into the graying air, confettied with seed?
A boy skips rope
on the pavement pink with torn blossoms. Then what?
Is the dragonfly afraid to love
what it may not understand?
The firefly? The firefly waits for
nightfall. Does he wait for nightfall?
She does. Though the females clustering together
may not wait at all.
Some may not even respond to light--I think.
But that is summer.
Could this be August?
Wellfleet, Midsummer (2000)
At low tide, this marsh pools around the road, the vein from the illicit cottage to the unfeeling world.
It is the heart-that-is-afraid-to-be-heard, this bridge over the salt marsh at high tide. Still—it is passable.
He picks up a box-turtle in the middle of the road. He’s fifty-two but believes it will bring childhood back in a box.
From grasses fretting with oysters and crabs, the mud stutters and I can tell you wait for another dusk to ask me. And I am not impatient.
At dawn, wading in the bay’s shallows, I am pinched by something sharp—I still feel beside myself.
[published by W.W. Norton, 2006]