Tuesday, 31 January 2023

American Life in Poetry: Homecoming

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Victoria Chang has an uncanny capacity to contain, in the compact machine of a well-honed poem, so much emotion and meaning.

She explores such a core element of what connects us as human beings — the capacity to remember and to forget.

“Homecoming” proposes, convincingly, that our earliest memories are likely owned by our mothers, and their deaths end an elemental story inside of us.

Homecoming
By Victoria Chang

The birds come back
but they don't tell us stories.
Their wings remember nothing,
are never knowledge.
We don't remember our birth,
when a mother dies, it's gone.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2021 by Victoria Chang, “Homecoming” from The Trees Remember Everything (Copper Canyon Press, 2022). Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

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