Greedy Hunger and Happy Ruin

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Virginia Tech

Greedy Hunger and Happy Ruin is a collection of poems that gathers a life of fragments and frayed ends into a loose narrative of desire, loss, language, and almost redemption. The poems examine the costs of leaving home, as seen in a mermaid's wish to become human, an immigrant family's aspirations of upward mobility, and an immigrant daughter's hunger for U.S. American social/lingual fluency, male attention, and erasure of her difference.

The collection follows speakers who, hungry for homes they cannot return to, navigate a landscape crowded with fairy tales, biblical myth, filial duty, and pop culture in search of the perfect lover or dress to transform them from brokenness to wholeness. As they strive for such unattainable ideals, however, these speakers inevitably end up homeless and/or scarred, as exemplified by Joyce Wildenstein's plastic surgery excesses. The speakers in these poems rue their missed chances, lost loves, ageing bodies, and crowded histories of wrong men. They offer their sins in confession but are unsure whether such disclosure can free them from the mistakes that haunt them.

Ultimately, Greedy Hunger and Happy Ruin begins to question what we choose to covet and how we choose to reflect on our pasts. The poems' speakers must confront the fantasies and ambitions that govern their lives and discover that transformation and absolution come not from a radiant external source but internal shifts of perspective, moment by moment, memory by memory, towards an embrace of the loss and longing (and joy) that make us human.