Victoria Chang: Love, Love (Part Two)

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Author, Victoria Chang. Photo credit: Margaret Molloy.

In show two of two, Victoria Chang discusses Love, Love, her children’s novel written in verse—poetry written for children. Imagistic, literary, and philosophical writing is made easy and legible, clear and direct, to demonstrate how directly language can express one’s rich inner world. A ten year-old Chinese-American girl lives in a Detroit suburb, and Love, Love delivers the writer’s personal experience.

An excerpt from “Love,” by Victoria Chang.

Frontal Lobe

My   Father’s   Frontal    Lobe—died
unpeacefully of a stroke on June 24,
2009 at Scripps  Memorial Hospital in
San Diego, California.  Born January 20,
1940, the frontal lobe enjoyed a good
life.  The frontal  lobe  loved being  the
boss.  It tried to talk again but someone
put a bag over it.  When the frontal
lobe died, it sucked in its lips like a
window pulled shut.  At the funeral for
his words, my father wouldn’t stop
talking and his love passed through me,
fell onto the ground that wasn’t there. 
I could hear someone stomping their
feet.  The body is as confusing as
language—was his frontal lobe having a
tantrum or dancing?  When I took my
father’s phone away, his words died in
the plastic coffin.  At the funeral for his
words, we argued about my
miscarriage. It’s not really a baby, he
said.  I ran out of words, stomped out
to shake the dead baby awake.  I
thought of the tech who put the wand
down, quietly left the room when she
couldn’t find the heartbeat.  I
understood then that darkness is falling
without an end.  That darkness is not
the absorption of color but the
absorption of language.

Copyright © 2020 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 3, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Credits

Host:
Michael Silverblatt

Producers:
Shawn Sullivan, Alan Howard