I want to share the full text of the acknowledgments section of Babbage’s Dream for two reasons: 1) I want to once again thank all the many people, institutions, and publications who have helped me find a home for these poems and to imagine a world where they might exist; 2) some of the earliest copies of my book that were sold at AWP are missing the second page of the acknowledgments (an error we were able to fix the same day as the run done for AWP, but not before some were printed). If you have one of those copies (only a few exist), it’s highly collectible. Someone has already started referring to it as “The Ungrateful Son” edition (much to my chagrin) since among its omissions is the paragraph thanking my family. If you’d like to download the full acknowledgments section, you can find the pdf here
I am grateful to the editors of the following publications, in which these poems, sometimes in slightly different versions, first appeared: Adroit Journal, American Literary Review, Anti-, The Collagist, The Cossack Review, Dialogist, diode, Eleven Eleven, Exit 7, Iron Horse Literary Review, Kartika Review, Lantern Review, Ninth Letter, The Normal School, Ostrich Review, Radar Poetry, Redactions, RHINO, Stirring, Tayo Literary Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Weave.
Several of these poems appear in the chapbook Leviathan published by Hyacinth Girl Press.
In addition, the following poems appeared in these anthologies: “Conditional” and “Pointer” in The Loudest Voice: Volume 1; “Free” (as “Things Left Behind”) in Aspects of Robinson: Homage to Weldon Kees; “Array” in Don’t Blame the Ugly Mug: Ten Years of Two Idiots Peddling Poetry; “Pointer” and Conditional” in Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-First Century Mormon Poets; “Encapsulation,” “Float,” “Frankenstein’s Creature Bids Farewell to Its Maker,” “Break,” “Operator,” and “Long” in Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art.
Special thanks to my faculty mentors at the University of Southern California who supported me through both the research and the writing of this book, chiefly David St. John, Hilary Schor, and Deborah Harkness, but also Emily Anderson, Rebecca Lemon, Carol Muske-Dukes, and Mark Irwin. Thanks as well to my friends and fellow students in the Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing program at USC. I owe a particular debt to Chris Abani and Juan Felipe Herrera whose belief and encouragement of this project in its very early stages while at UC Riverside has finally borne fruit, as well as to Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi, Oliver de la Paz, and the rest of my writing family at Kundiman whose enduring love and powerful words have sustained and inspired me, and to the league of extraordinary writers who engage technology and our relationship to it, namely Margaret Rhee, Jilly Dreadful, Saba Razvi, Noel Pabillo Mariano, Yuzun Kang, Sydney Padua, Minsoo Kang, Peter Tieryas, and Amaranth Borsuk. I am deeply grateful to Margaret Bashaar for publishing many of the life of Babbage poems in chapbook form as Leviathan—her enthusiasm for this project can only be matched by that of Erin Elizabeth Smith, Sara Henning, and the rest of the crew at Sundress Publications.
Thank you to my many writer friends in Los Angeles who have read or heard earlier drafts of these poems at our poetry potlucks and have helped me find my way through them. Much gratitude to Steve Meinel, Matt Versweyveld, Anthony Cuccia, and Thomas Fiola who slogged through the trenches with me day after day during my time as a computer games programmer. Others without whom this book would not be what is: Janalynn Bliss, Brendan Constantine, Allen and Jenny Graves, Mandy Kahn, Douglas Kearney, Grace Lee, Jessica Piazza, Brynn Saito, and Elaine Wang. I remain forever grateful to my late father who brought home early computers from work during the 1980s and bought our first home PC, an IBM PC Jr—the machine I learned to program on. Likewise I owe much to my mother, whose faith in me has never wavered, despite the strangeness of my path; and to my sister whose shared love of programming, games, and science fiction marks us as true siblings, cut from the same cloth. Finally, the impossible and improbable genius of Charles Babbage whose triumphs, sorrows, dreams, and labors were on a scale too great for one lifetime, and yet who nonetheless dared to pursue what no one else could imagine.