An Interview with L. Acadia

L. ACADIA is a literature professor at National Taiwan University, a dog pillow at home, and otherwise searching Taipei for ghosts and vegan treats. L. has a PhD from Berkeley and creative work published or forthcoming in Autostraddle, The Dodge (nominated for Best of the Net), Feral, Lothlorian Poetry Journal, Neologism Poetry Journal, Neon Door, New Orleans Review, Reservoir Road Literary Review, Subterranean Blue Poetry, and Typehouse Magazine. 
You can read Invasion News in our April 2023 issue.

Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your poem? For instance, how or why you wrote it, or perhaps provide some extra context? 

Living in Taiwan, I’m regularly drawn into conversations and thoughts of war. Local friends report on acquaintances migrating, or those abroad read sensationalist news of Chinese missiles, US arms deals, or Taiwanese conscription, and ask whether it wouldn’t be safer to leave what The Economist called ‘the most dangerous place on Earth.’ Yet on the ground, Taiwan seems so peaceful—friendly neighbors, gorgeous landscapes, functional public transit and healthcare systems, and if you lose your wallet someone will surely return it to the closest 7/11 without taking a single bill. When Russia invaded Ukraine, we marched week after week in solidarity with a country actually at war, at times feeling so much safer by contrast, or so much more vulnerable: what if Taipei were to become the next Kiev? Writing down my increasingly frequent dreams of war, I recognized that the news outside our ‘dangerous’ little island seemed even more nightmarish. This poem, Invasion News (originally titled War Wakemare) is a reflection of these tensions.

Why was the poetic form the best fit for this particular piece of work?

Thoughts of war are so affective; poetry invites the reader to experience a similar rush of feeling or a physiological reaction before any thought can register.

Are there other art forms that inspire or inform your poetry? 

Conversations, whether overheard or joined. I’m lucky to commute by metro and interact daily with a remarkably diverse range students, colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, and strangers in Taipei and abroad, constantly eavesdropping on or partaking in snippets of discursive art. 

What are you reading or watching or listening to lately that intrigues or inspires you? 

The sounds—and when I’m lucky sights—of wildlife on evening dog walks along the river beside my apartment. I’ve seen civet cats, bats, a flying squirrel, an owl, and many waterfowl I can’t identify. There are pangolins who live in these hills, and I’m looking out for holes that might be their burrows, yet appreciate that their secrecy is a survival skill. I’m also grateful to everyone who sends me inspiration, from news articles to random thoughts, especially 徐蕾, Ryn, and Boots. 

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