Featured Poem 2/18 – from Dictee

from Dictee – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha


Dead words. Dead tongue. From disuse. Buried in Time’s memory. Unemployed. Unspoken. History. Past. Let the one who is diseuse, one who is mother who waits nine days and nine nights be found. Restore memory. Let the one who is diseuse, one who is daughter restore spring with her each appearance from beneath the earth. The ink spills thickest before it runs dry before it stops writing at all.

It’s difficult to call Dictee anything concrete. It may be a novel. It may be a history book. It may be an autobiography. It may be a collection of poetry. The most apt description is an artist’s book, precisely because such a definition avoids classifying the work within. But when reading Dictee I found more of the experimental between-words feeling that I think is essential to constructing moving poetry. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha writes so that you consider each word and all its associations at once, if you can move past being afraid of the way her first words confront you.

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2 Responses

  1. Shino says:

    This poem [i]was[/i] awesome!

    • Hannah says:

      I love especially the word play between disuse and diseuse. Haha. What rang true for you? If you liked this fragment I full-heartedly recommend buying the book.

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