"I’ve been writing and working on a run of poems with these titles as well as Regrets and the occasional Egrets since March or April of 2014. The working semi-premise is something like this —Regrets are what you regret, Pregrets are what you’re getting ready to regret, Degrets are a total breakdown space, and Egrets are something else."
For a New Yorker, the city is the center of the world, the only civilized place to be. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, even New York State, are planets that circle around NYC. Rhode Island, Ontario, and Quebec, they’re just moons of Manhattan. The rest are nothing but satellites and asteroids. And people from those places? Country bumpkins! Aliens!
It may seem a trifle perverse to begin looking at Phyllis Wat’s lively new book of poems, Wu going there, by discussing the cover, but this one contains three lovely Chinese ideograms that mean: nothing, gaining knowledge (“in a Buddhist sense,” my wife, Nhi, says), and to dance. Note, as Wat brings out in the book’s title poem, these three characters are not chosen for semantic reasons, but because each is sounded as “wu” in Mandarin.