by Laci Mattison
I first met Josephine Yu in the summer of 2008, when we were both taking a course designed to brush up on our reading of the French language so that we could pass a required test for our degrees at Florida State University. The room was cramped and sticky, and I knew no one. To make things worse, everyone seemed perfectly capable of translating Camus and Spinoza, as I sat hunched over my book attempting to remember any conjugation I might have learned in high school French class. And then one day, by luck, I sat next to Josephine, who shortly after invited me over for dinner. So began one of the most treasured friendships of my life thus far. Josephine is not only a dear friend, but she is also an award winning poet, whose work she has generously shared with me over the years. Her first book of poems, Prayer Book of the Anxious, was selected by poet and novelist Sarah Kennedy for the 15th Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award and will be published by the press in 2016.
Over lunch last week, Josephine handed me a copy of her manuscript, laughing about how, in the process of printing a copy for me, she had ended up spending the morning making revisions. “Of course I can’t look at it without changing something. I revised a poem that I published eight or ten years ago!”