American Lục Bát for My Mother by Joshua Nguyen (Inch #46)


by Joshua Nguyen

Inch #46, Spring 2021
23 pages, saddle-stapled
ISSN: 1932-6149

release date: March 30, 2021



In American Lục Bát for My Mother, Joshua Nguyen reimagines the lục bát, a traditional Vietnamese form, to bridge past and present, east and west, tradition and innovation. The poems sizzle with garlic and fish sauce as the speaker tries (and fails) to recreate one of his mother’s recipes—but beneath these tender love letters from a son to his mother simmers a crackly interrogation of American imperialism, whiteness, assimilation, and survival. How can we honor and preserve the histories, languages, songs, and recipes that are carried across borders and filtered through generations, while still holding space for expansion and connection, gratitude and honesty, salt and sugar?

Includes the poems “Thịt Kho,” “Washing Rice [American Lục Bát],” “First Day of School Aubade,” “Peeling Eggs [American Lục Bát],” “Marinate Using Fish Sauce [American Lục Bát],” “Dicing Garlic [American Lục Bát],” “Add Pepper to Taste The Dark [American Lục Bát],” “Toast / Butter / Sugar [Haibun],” “Store Overnight [American Lục Bát],” “Add Coconut Water [American Lục Bát],” “Let Simmer For 30 Minutes [American Lục Bát],” “A Failed American Lục Bát Responds,” and “Mother, One Day I Will Cook for You [American Lục Bát].”

Joshua Nguyen is a bisexual Vietnamese-American writer, a collegiate national poetry
slam champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tin House, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. He has been published in The Offing, Wildness, Button Poetry, Texas Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Hot Metal Bridge. He is a PhD student at the University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA. He is a bubble tea connoisseur and works in a kitchen.

Additional information

Weight .1 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × 4.25 × .2 in


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