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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, available at

The preface provides the reader with the context of the book’s writing during the early months of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of the author’s father to cancer, and the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder; explains the protocol of distilling the 49 letters that compose the organizational structure of the book; and situates the book’s style of apophatic thought within the tradition of free-verse poetics and criticism, in particular, as practiced by Nathaniel Mackey and Fred Moten, and the tradition of Korean/American women’s poetry and art, including Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Don Mee Choi, and Myung Mi Kim.

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