Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Film. Art. UMBILICAL HOSPITAL is a poetic ekphrasis of Leslie Thornton’s Sheep Machine, part of her Binocular Series. Filmed in Saas-Fee, it shows a flock of sheep grazing next to the structural support of cable car system. Leslie Thornton views her video installation as film paintings.
Imagine an entity composed of sheep, wheat, assholes, clitorises, stars. Why not? That would be this poem, this world–a perfectly recognizable post-human world which is also post surreal. Vi Khi Nao is making it new, no, she is doing the old job of making us see what’s already here in a new way. We’re already part of the bunny-frog and the sheep machine and we’re feeling fine. This is bold, fresh, necessary work.–Rae Armantrout
In this book–a vision of a vision–to see is to become. To count, or be counted, is to transform. Vi Khi Nao promises her readers to ‘split in half, to spread-eagle, to alter/the delirium of grass.’ Heady, dreamy, painful and acute, the images in these poems recombine to digest, rather than describe, Leslie Thornton’s Sheep Machine. Certainly, one must look at the body from two very different eyes at once for it to become an umbilical hospital.–Sophia Dahlin.