Extinction Theory is a collection of pseudoscience poems that try to provide rationales for some of life’s most salient mysteries. Where is God? What does it mean to belong? Who killed the dinosaurs? Kien Lam creates new worlds with new rules to better answer these perennial questions. His poetry is that of discovery, of looking at the world as if for the first time. Lam exposes the transitory and transcendent nature of things and how we find meaning.
At the heart of this collection is also a cataloging of the smaller “extinctions” in life. Every passing moment is the death of something, and try as we might to recreate the feeling, it can never be the same. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe it’s a donut. It changes its shape as we juxtapose it against something new. Extinction Theory is as much about language as it is about the absence of language. Of English, of Vietnamese, and then of neither.