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Friday, May 28, 2010

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Beasto--Camden--2









Beasto, 54, born in Puerto Rico, has been in the U.S. and Camden for 40 years, been back to his island 4 times, and has been living in a tent for 16 months. Used to work in a factory. He spoke almost no English, so I had to communicate with him through my few words of Spanish and occasional, frustrated interjections of Italian. He has a daughter back in Puerto Rico, and another in Reading, PA. When he said "hija," I asked, "Daughter?" but he replied, "No, hija!" That's how bad his English was. Beasto didn't like the soup kitchen not even half a mile away--I've been there--but prefered to cook his rice and beans on a grill. He also had meats, hotdogs and bacon, all unrefrigerated. Kept inside a sack of rice, they were reeking. I also saw a cooked piece of pork chop.



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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy and England. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.