By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
I write, because I think I will go crazy if I don’t. I am possessed by some spirit, what has been called the duende, that drives me to write in verse. It is a gift that I am grateful for and that I would like to cultivate.
Tell us about your most recent book. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
In my second book, After the Fall (dirges among ruins), I was trying to grapple with various motivations for war and violence and exploring how victims could pick up the pieces from the resulting brutality and destruction. I did so in dialogue with great souls such as St. Augustine who posited that adversity is not an end but a means to refine one’s practice of virtues. He saw the good as forging ahead and achieving some peace. Another major influence on the second book was Walter Benjamin who talked about giving witness to war’s horrors as a lifelong commitment. He described destruction through a witness’s perception of objects and nature scenes in the act of loss.