Indigenous Species: Poetry Book Connects Vietnam and Indonesia

All Things Books / Launch

About Indigenous Species,
Written by Paul Christiansen, and was originally published in Urbanist Hanoi,
Jul 28, 2018

Massive fish die-offs, sewage-smothered lakes, natural parks gashed by cable cars, soot-sullied skies and overflowing landfills — when considering environmental issues, it is easy to view them from a localized, Vietnam-specific perspective.

The same problems the country is facing, however, are occurring all over the world. By learning about them in other locations, we not only better understand the urgency of preserving natural spaces here, we also empathize with diverse populations through recognition of shared experiences and challenges. Indigenous Species, a book-length, art-accompanied poem by Indonesian author Khairani Barokka, which was recently translated into Vietnamese, helps connect Vietnamese readers with other populations through ruminations on ecological impact, identity, feminism and disability.

When you abduct me down the rotten river,
You make sure to wrap some rope around the hull,
Lest the current gets swept into dreaming,
And the dugout boat loses sight
Of carvings and knives
For the vision of ancestor breath,
Calling us away from great hulks of islands
And into water culled from the saliva of tigers
Whose bloodlines we clotted to death on Java,
Stabbed out of life on Bali.

Read the full article here.