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     behind the image, the imagination




Interview with Mong-Lan, Hi Magazine

by Marah Bukai


1. What is the first poem you ever loved? Why?

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman.  It is a lyric affirmation of the soul and the soulís possibilities.  It is a testament to the limitlessness of oneís self.  As an adolescent, it gave me great hope in life, and indeed, still does.

2. How important is philosophy to your writing? Why?

I donít quite know how to answer this question, but certainly philosophy is important in a general sense in that it gives us a measure by which to live our lives, and in my case is the basis of much of my inner reflection.

3.  When did you start writing poetry? And why?

 I started writing in my early twenties.  Earlier, I painted, but wanted to express what paint could not. 

4.  How do you identify yourself as multicultural poet?

 I was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and came to the States when five, then became an American citizen at the age of 10.  I have lived in Japan for the last few years, and travel has become an integral part of my life. 

5.  How do you see the future of poetry in this materialistic world?

I would like to think that even the most materialistic will find value in feeding their souls.

6.  What does "globalismĒ mean to you as a poet?

 It means the passing of many things personal (such as mom and pop stores), promoting a sameness that is often both depressing and deceiving. At the same time, more people have access to information as well as having the ability to communicate with others around the world, and this can be liberating. 



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