Many of the poems in Kim-An Lieberman's second collection, "In Orbit," reach back to her family's roots in Vietnam.
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Many of the poems in Kim-An Lieberman's second collection, "In Orbit," reach back to her family's roots in Vietnam.
Credit: Matt Corddry

'In Orbit' With Poet Kim-An Lieberman

The gravitational pull of one generation on another resounds throughout Kim-An Lieberman's second collection of poetry, "In Orbit." As in her first collection, "Breaking the Map," Lieberman mines the complexities of her Vietnamese and Jewish heritage to evoke a multi-layered identity.

But the poems in "In Orbit," published posthumously, must also grapple with another complex identity: cancer patient and mother of three small children. The result is a moving collection that reaches simultaneously back to the past and forward into a future she knows she will not live to see.

— from the poem, "Secondhand."

Lieberman earned a Ph.D. in Vietnamese and Vietnamese American literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught for many years at the Lakeside School in Seattle.

She was shortlisted for a Genius Award by Paul Constant of The Stranger and was a Jack Straw writer. You can read more of Lieberman's poems online at Poetry Northwest, The Far Field, the Stranger SLOG and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

Kim-An Lieberman died in December 2013. A reading of her work is scheduled for May 4 at Jack Straw Cultural Center.