Paul Bonnell was born in Buôn Ma Thuột, Vietnam. He has lived in the Philippines, Malaysia, and the United States. He teaches, coaches, writes, plays music, and climbs in northern Idaho, where he lives with his family. He is interested in poetry, essays, fiction, hybrid art, the Vietnamese Diaspora, the Chăm, the Bru, mountain culture, biopolitics, and transracial/transnational adoption.
Paul Bonnell reviews Phuong T. Vuong's The House I Inherit. In “What my father gives me,” Vuong writes: my father who gives me / salted lemons / makes offerings / when my silence seems / too prickly for much else / my father so good / at surviving / even his preserved lemons / stay afloat in salt water
I could say more here, about mistaken-ness and being mistaken, about refugees and human rights groups, about dogs on leashes, about signs and guns, and the 11th-Hour Remnant or the New Aryan Nation. About navigating Asian American identity here in Idaho as a public school teacher, coach, parent, and neighbor.
To what extent do war and separation and loss shadow us? How do we navigate erasure? Can we shape grief and healing with words, images, emptiness, and space? Diana Khoi Nguyen explores these questions and more in her remarkable book of poetry, Ghost Of.