Come Clean

Come Clean

by Joshua Nguyen
Come Clean

Come Clean

by Joshua Nguyen

Paperback(First Edition)

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Joshua Nguyen's sharp, songlike, and often experimental collection compartmentalizes past trauma—sexual and generational—through the quotidian. Poems aim to confront the speaker's past by physically, and mentally, cleaning up. Here, the Asian-American masculine interrogates the domestic space through the sensual and finds healing through family and in everyday rhythms: rinsing rice until the water runs clear, folding clean shirts, and attempts at re-creating an unwritten family recipe. Yet past wounds remain present like permanent marker under layers of paint or spilled fish sauce set into car upholstery. Infused with the Shinto-inspired organizing practices of KonMari and the catchy nihilism of Mitski's songs, the poems in Come Clean unpack, organize, and tidy up life's messy joys and hurtful chaos with intimacy, grace, and vulnerability.

No matter how smattered my insides,  
I am relieved that I left my room tidy—
One less ugly sight.
I always wanted to die clean & pretty
while my dreams made music in the night.
—Excerpt from "Last Words"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299336042
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 11/30/2021
Series: Wisconsin Poetry Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Joshua Nguyen is the author of Come Clean (University of Wisconsin Press), winner of the 2021 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, and the chapbook, "American Lục Bát for My Mother" (Bull City Press, 2021). He is a Vietnamese-American writer, a collegiate national poetry slam champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He is a PhD student at The University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA. 

Read an Excerpt

No matter how smattered my insides,  
I am relieved that I left my room tidy—
One less ugly sight.
I always wanted to die clean & pretty
while my dreams made music in the night.
—Excerpt from "Last Words"

Table of Contents

Save Me, Marie Kondo

March 4th
My First Memory
Wisconsin Has A Place in My Heart & I Just Want It to Let Go
My Marie Kondo Manifesto
Father, the Father
Washing Rice [American Lục Bát]
My Brother Explains Driving
A Dirty Floor in The Key of Elbows
Peeling Eggs [American Lục Bát]
Bunk Bed
Toast / Butter / Sugar
Blessing the House
Marie Kondo Is My Hero: A Lesson on Folding Undergarments
First Day of School Aubade

After I Was Mistaken for the Stripper While Delivering Barbeque to an All-White Bachelorette Party
Dim Sum Depression
Scratch My Back & I’ll Love You Forever
An Argument About Being Needy While Underneath Binary Stars
Marie Kondo Is My Hero: A Lesson on Clothing
Add Coconut Water [American Lục Bát]
Exhaustion [But Every Time Leela Rose Kisses a Random Asian Man in The Street, A New Stanza Begins & The Amount of Words Between The Boxes Increase By 1]
Self-Portrait as The Hand Towel Which Hangs Above The Toilet
In the Bathroom After Eating Flaming Hot Cheetos
Come Clean
I Fall In Love With The Scientist Behind The Mask
Speak Quotidian to Me
One Night Withstand
Funny as Fuck
Add Pepper To Taste The Dark [American Lục Bát]
20 Things To Do Before You Leave The Restaurant Job You Hate
Google Calendar for My Imposter Syndrome
A Failed American Lục Bát Responds
Last Words [Extended Cento]

The Ritual of Mourning Has Changed
Vietnamese Bedwetting Stories
Thịt Kho
In Praise of my Threaded Eyebrows
Dicing Garlic [American Lục Bát]
My Father Explains Employment
My Mother Explains Universal Healthcare
My Cat Doesn’t Grasp Object Permanence
Marie Kondo Is My Hero: On Organizing Christmas
Ode to My Brother’s V-neck
My Sister Listens to ‘Run River North’ For the First Time
This Season is My Greenhouse
Marinate Using Fish Sauce [American Lục Bát]
I Don’t Trust the Dishwasher
Mother, One Day I Will Cook For You [American Lục Bát]

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