By Definition of Preposition

Better not to end a sentence with a prep like ‘of ’
I don’t remember when this rule I learned of

But since then I have become keenly aware of
The need to pay close attention to the grammar of

Every sentence I write in English, a language of
Choice over birth, which I did not begin until at age of

Nineteen to learn among heavily accented versions of
Mandarin practised on a Shanghai campus, a city of

Romantic or rhapsodic adventures. Yes, by definition of
Preposition, it is a function word expressing a relationship of

A name with another in most cases, & as the most common of
All preps, of denotes origin or cause with the shape of

O like a vagina to f— into, the two letters as the theme of
This poem, with many other political concerns or lack thereof

Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

Yes. While climbing the mountain alone behind a hotel during my only family trip (to Banff) in early August 2004, I could not help crying over the way I had degraded myself into a money-making machine. To articulate this choking feeling, I found a forlorn pen and a piece of waste paper by the trail and wrote my first poem in English after immigrating to Canada. Since then, I have written (and even probably published) more than two thousand poems.

How/where do you find inspiration today?

Mostly from my reading and meditating experience.

What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

The very word ‘pre posit ion.’ Actually, I have written quite a number of poems based on a single intriguing and inspiring word.

What did you find particularly challenging in writing this poem?

Something not really so much challenging as particular: I tried to end every line with ‘of’ to suggest endless possibilities of associations with this ‘pre position’.

This poem “By Definition of Preposition” originally appeared in Emerging Scholars, Redux Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 242 (2020): 57.

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