Researching in the Theresa
Hak Kyung Cha Archive
by Xiwen Mai

So many of your books were written in the year
I was born, and the most beautiful one,
printed on white canvas, with double strings attached
to each page as if one could tie the book up
and gift-wrap it any way one chooses,
was made in December that year, the month I was born.

We were almost in the same story, then,
weren’t we—when I first opened my eyes to the dim light
of a wintry night, bathed in my mother’s water and blood,
you were probably writing the cover lines,
depicting pomegranate seeds with imagist strokes—
“red tears,” “blood pearls.”


Xiwen Mai has a doctorate in English from the University of Michigan
and teaches as an Assistant Professor of English at New York Institute
of Technology’s overseas campus in Nanjing, China.

On “Researching in the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Archive”:
I wrote the poem while researching in Cha’s archive at the
University of California Berkeley for a dissertation chapter
on Cha’s intermedia poetics.  Looking through many of her
hand-written notes, manuscripts, and art works in their various
earlier forms, I realized for the first time what an intimate
relationship archival work could help establish between a
researcher and the artist s/he studies. . . .

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 6, Number 2
(Fall 2011)

Copyright © 2011
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.