Greg Pak: Poetry

I’m best known for comics and films, but here I am writing poems again. You can read about the importance of poetry in my life in my 2018 “Thanks, Poetry” essay for the Poetry Foundation. Other recent publications include I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND and “Book Club.”

I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND clips released on YouTube!

I’m thrilled to report that the fine folks at Inversion have posted clips from this summer’s performance of I Belong to You / Motherland, an epic poem about growing up in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s adapted to music. Please do check it out above!

I’m biased, of course, ’cause I wrote the libretto, but the I Belong to You / Motherland performance was one of the most shattering and restorative theatrical experiences I’ve ever seen or been a part of. Huge thanks to Inversion — and please do consider donating to their current fundraiser!

You can also buy signed copies of the gorgeous hardcover of I Belong to You / Motherland right now from the Greg Pak Shop!

I Belong to You / Motherland cover

“Book Club” poem in the latest Uncanny Magazine

Black and white 35mm photography of a dandelion gone to seed

I’m deeply grateful to Uncanny Magazine for inviting me to contribute to their current issue. I was supposed to write an essay, but I ended up writing a poem called “Book Club” about reading Dandelion Wine to my mom during her last weeks. Here are the opening lines:

Your mother is dying
What do you read to her?
During the pandemic, she started an online book club
For her school-aged grandchildren
Now they’re lounging in the cool, dark house
But she’s too tired to run the meeting
That’s become your job
Pick a book

The poem is free to read at https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/book-club/ — along with many other stories, poems, and essays from this issue of the magazine. I’ve just realized it’s my first new poetry published in someone else’s publication since high school. Whew. I hope you’ll check it out.

2022.06.25 – I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND choral music performance in Austin, Texas! Check out the preview of the book!

I Belong to You / Motherland cover

ANOTHER HUGE UPDATE: The hardcover of I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND is now available for purchase through the 35MM LOVE LETTER campaign! Get your copy today!

HUGE UPDATE: Can’t make the one night only I BELONG TO YOU performance in Austin in person? Now you can buy a $15 digital-only ticket and get a link to a video of the performance in July! Do it now, friends! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inversion-ensemble-presents-i-belong-to-you-tickets-270735064867

Big news, friends. I’m thrilled to report that I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND, an autobiographical epic poem written by yours truly, has been adapted into a book and a choral musical performance that will be staged by the incredible artists from Inversion Ensemble and Invoke on Saturday, June 25 in Austin, Texas!

Buy your tickets today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inversion-ensemble-presents-i-belong-to-you-tickets-270735064867

The story explores growing up as an Asian American kid in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s and grappling with the sense of not quite belonging while simultaneously feeling totally bound to the environment and flora and fauna of the state. The story’s also an elegy to my mother, Jane Pak, and how she taught me to observe and participate in the world. It’s one of the most personal things I’ve ever written, and I’m enormously grateful to Inversion, Invoke, and to all of the contributing artists for their incredible support and partnership.

Tickets to the in-person performance can be bought through Eventbrite. Please mask up at the show and please do not attend if you’ve been exposed to COVID or have symptoms.

I’m also thrilled to report that the lush, 72 page book of I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND is available for mail order exclusively for the next month through the Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy website! Just fill out the form at this page! I’ll also be doing a signing at Dragon’s Lair on June 25 from 12-2 pm – hope to see you there!

The book is filled with my mother’s luminous black and white photography, my own photos and drawings from the past five decades, and illustrations by a crew of incredible artists, including Sean Chen, Dustinn Craig, Shing Yin Khor, Ann Smith, and Ethan Young. Please read on for a big preview of the first three chapters!

I hope you enjoy, and please do pick up the book and buy tickets to the performance if you’re so inspired!

I Belong to You / Motherland title page

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I Belong to You / Motherland - p. 2

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Announcing the I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND illustrated book and music project! Virtual event tonight; concert and book premiere in Austin on June 25!

I Belong to You / Motherland cover

I’m thrilled to announce I BELONG TO YOU/MOTHERLAND, a new, deeply personal project created in collaboration with the Inversion Ensemble music group of Austin, Texas, and a crew of incredible artists, including Sean Chen, Dustinn Craig, Shing Yin Khor, Ann Smith, and Ethan Young.

Tonight at 8 pm ET, I’ll be discussing the project with artist Ann Smith in a virtual panel accessible to anyone who donates $50 or more to Inversion! Make your donation before 5 pm at https://www.inversionatx.org/donate and they’ll hook you up with the link to the event tonight!

I BELONG TO YOU/MOTHERLAND is an autobiographical epic poem that’s simultaneously being adapted into an illustrated book and a choral piece that will be performed by Inversion on June 25 in Austin.

The story explores growing up as an Asian American kid in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s and grappling with the sense of not quite belonging while simultaneously feeling totally bound to the environment and flora and fauna of the state. The story’s also about my mother, Jane Pak, and how she taught me to observe and participate in the world.

Hope to see you at the virtual event tonight, and if you’re in Austin, I’d be honored if you’d consider coming to the performance on June 25 — please see below for more details about that.

And yes, the illustrated book, which will include brilliant work by the artists mentioned above along with my mother’s luminous black and white photography and other ephemera from the 1970s and 1980s, will eventually be available for purchase — more details on that soon!

_____________________________________________________________________

INVERSION ENSEMBLE presents I BELONG TO YOU
June 25, 2022, at 7:30 pm — Bates Recital Hall
2406 Robert Dedman Dr, Austin, TX 78712

Inversion presents “I Belong to You,” a spectacular multimedia experience featuring the world premiere of Motherland/I Belong to You, an unprecedented oratorio blending poetry, comic book illustration, and choral music. The autobiographical libretto by critically acclaimed comic book author Greg Pak (The Incredible Hulk, Star Wars) explores the history, culture, and natural wonders of Texas from the perspective of a native Texan during the various stages of his life.

The musical adaptation of Pak’s text by Inversion’s three founding members—composers Adrienne Inglis, Robbie LaBanca, and Trevor F. Shaw—will be sung by Inversion’s flagship choral ensemble and accompanied by guest artists Invoke string quartet and Ethan Shaw (Chili Cold Blood), steel guitarist.

I Belong to You / Motherland will also be published as an original comic book by Greg Pak, commissioned by Inversion, with illustrations by renowned artists Ann Smith, Dustinn Craig, Ethan Young, Sean Chen, and Shing Yin Khor. Audience members will enjoy live, on-screen projections of the original artwork during the performance. V.I.P. tickets include a hardback, limited-edition version of the comic book, signed by the author.
Join Inversion Ensemble and Greg Pak on Saturday, June 25, 7:30 pm in Bates Recital Hall at the UT Butler School of Music for “I Belong to You,” sponsored in part by Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy.

Purchase your tickets here.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inversion-ensemble-presents-i-belong-to-you-tickets-270735064867

Emails, 2021

thank you so much for your patience
    pretty bad month
fell behind on correspondence
    rough couple of weeks
little behind on everything
    tough few days
hugely appreciate the kind words
    worst fucking year of my life
appreciate you so much

slowly getting back onto this kind of work over here
finally getting back in the swing of things
finally back at it
at long, long last
please find attached
more soon

so sorry for dropping out there for a bit
huge apologies for the radio silence
still running a little slow over here
absolutely understand if

oh no
I’m so sorry to hear
please accept our deepest

best wishes and
big hearts and
all the best and
stay safe and
thanks so much and

please best hearts safe thanks
please hearts thanks
please

can you stop being clever

can you stop being clever
stop making connections
cut out every simile and metaphor
no more rhyming
no more rhythm
just let it fall from your mouth
heedless, formless, and true
like rain from the–
aw shit

I Cry All the Fucking Time

I cry all the fucking time

I say it with a growl so it’s funny
Like an aging hero in an ’80s action movie
Vulnerable
But still a fucking man ha ha ha ha

seriously though I cry all the fucking time.