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Reading “A Thousand Twangling Instruments” by T. Liem



Poetry Lunch S3E6

Reading “A Thousand Twangling Instruments” by T. Liem from Slows: Twice, published by Coach House Books.


Goodness well I’m tired as you can tell and I suppose it’s appropriate I chose a book today with “Slow” in the title. I feel slow indeed and underwater somewhat, surfacing still from far travels.

I love the invitation in the title of this book, to be not just slow but slow twice. I don’t know what that means exactly but I know I long for less in a lot of ways that surprise me recently. Less must; less more; less everything. Less pressure. Less impossible expectation. Less either/or. More both/and.

For me this poem holds a lot of both/and: acceptance and standing up; quiet and strength; being and not; continuing and returning. It refuses one way in all the ways I can read it. It feels solid and open. True and questioning. It allows a lot of space, pries it open even—which I think is why I like it so much. Also I love the opening word, Listen. And I have no idea why the title but of course it connects to that first word. Maybe the poem is trying to find a way toward listening to itself? I feel better when I get to the end of it. Allowed all the downs, unconcerned even about naming up vs down.

Thank you T. Liem for your beautiful language and thank you James and Alana at Coach House Books for putting this book in my hand.


Link to purchase

Get the book here: Slows: Twice.