Presented by Jean Yoon
University of Notre Dame
December 13, 2019, 7:00PM at the Fulbright Building
Please RSVP by Thursday, December 12
My mother land was a home I had never lived in, and my mother tongue was a language I couldn’t speak. Or barely. I found I felt I was a child again, fumbling drawing after drawing of my mother’s jaguar-shaped pin. If I could describe the exact dimensions of the wound, I could fashion a stent to fit that concavity and thereby resolve the surface–this was the limit to which I aimed my words. But the abyss just kept increasing in dimension and complexity. I wasn’t writing, I was trying to Botox the past. I said I would write a book of essays about mothers and motherhood, but not mothers per se, rather the ways in which we (who?) measure mothers as such, represent them to ourselves, restage the mother-figure in other realms–civic, cinematic, oneiric. On the eve of my departure, Professor Choi said, I think you think you want to find your mother, this mother-relation. But no–you are going to have to make her up on your own.
For this Fulbright Forum, I will read from and discuss my writing in progress. I will also give a brief artist talk contextualizing my research and present a selection of works in-progress, theoretical, unrealized or unrealizable.
(keywords: language attrition, pronouns, lost archives, ancestor communication, divination, saju, calligraphy, inarticulacy, translation, deletion, displacement, distraction, renovation, screen culture, anti-aging, meditation, forgetting.)
Jean Yoon is a writer, researcher, and interdisciplinary artist whose work examines the functions of memory and the performance of belonging. Jean’s work has been supported by the Nicholas Sparks Fellowship, University of Notre Dame Creative Writing Program, and Tin House Writer’s Workshop. Their poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Pulpmouth, jubilat, the Kenyon Review online, and Ghost City Press, among others. They hold an MFA in Poetry from the University of Notre Dame and a BA in Linguistics from Reed College.