A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure

Finalist, National Book Awards 2021 for Poetry

ISBN 9781950268177
Wave Books
Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen is the author of several books of poetry, including As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice, and Violet Energy Ingots, which was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. She has served as guest editor for The Best Canadian Poetry in English series and judge for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. (Photo credit: Karen Thomson) More about this author >

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A poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-“Fall-of-Saigon” with verse biography on the poet’s mother, Diệp Anh Nguyễn, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-women Vietnamese circus troupe. Multilayered, plaintive, and provocative, the poems in A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure are alive with archive and inhabit histories. By turns lyrical and unsettling, Hoa Nguyen’s poetry sings of language and loss; dialogues with time, myth and place; and communes with past and future ghosts.

Judges Citation

In A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure memory becomes the site of fractured diasporic existence and identity, populated by ghosts and US chemical warfare. Hoa Nguyen grapples with loss, “the Languageless Girl,” while weaving a complex tapestry of archive and songs that orbit around a stunning verse biography of her mother who was a stunt motorcyclist in the all-women Vietnamese Circus troupe. It is a book of beauty, resistance, and community of longing.


Hoa Nguyen, 2021 National Book Awards Poetry Finalist, reads from A THOUSAND TIMES YOU LOSE YOUR TREASURE