An Asian American Poetry Companion: Refreshing Reads for Spring (March 2022)

An Asian American Poetry Companion, Mar 2022. Cover images of: DREAM OF THE DIVIDED FIELD by Yanyi, NOTES FROM THE BIRTH YEAR by Mia Ayumi Malhotra, ALL THE FLOWERS KNEELING by Paul Tran, THE PURPOSE OF ALL THINGS by Jireh Deng, RETURN FLIGHT by Jennifer Huang, CONSTELLATION ROUTE by Matthew Olzmann, NIGHT SWIM by Joan Kwon Glass, CUSTOMS by Solmaz Sharif, BEAST AT EVERY THRESHOLD by Natalie Wee
New and Notable Books by Asian American Poets for Spring 2022

Our Asian American Poetry Companion series is back with more exciting reads to pick up—perfect for a warm spring day. Today, we’re thrilled to be bringing our readers nine fresh recommendations of new and forthcoming works from the Asian American poets that we know and love.

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Jireh Deng, The Purpose of All Things, (Self-Published, December 2021) 

Jireh Deng’s The Purpose of All Things may be the perfect thing for you to pick up this spring if you enjoyed their piece “Towards Fidelity” in Issue 9.2. Poems from Deng’s debut chapbook have been featured by the Human Rights Campaign, CSU Long Beach, and more. The Purpose of All Things features both poetry and artwork throughout the collection; available now.

Joan Kwon Glass, Night Swim, (Diode, March 2022) 

Joan Kwon Glass continues the exploration of mourning and reconciliation she began in her January chapbook, How to Make Pancakes for a Dead Boy (Small Harbor, 2022), with her full-length poetry collection, Night Swim. If you’ve already read and enjoyed her work in Issue 9.1, look forward to more in this collection, out from Diode this month. 

Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Notes from the Birth Year, (Bateau, March 2022)

Our associate editor and cofounder, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, provides a tender new lens on motherhood in her new chapbook with Bateau, Notes from the Birth Year. You’ll definitely want to pick up this collection of exploration and reflection this month. 

Matthew Olzmann, Constellation Route, (Alice James, January 2022) 

Matthew Olzmann’s work has been on our readers’ radars from the very beginning, his first contribution having been in Issue 1. If you enjoyed either of his previous collections (Mezzanines or Contradictions in the Design) or the vivid imagery and haunting musicality of his poems in Issue 6, Constellation Route may be your new favorite; out now from Alice James. 

MORE NEW & NOTEWORTHY PICKS

Jennifer Huang, Return Flight, (Milkweed, January 2022)

Solmaz Sharif, Customs, (Graywolf, March 2022)

Paul Tran, All the Flowers Kneeling, (Penguin Poets, February 2022) 

Natalie Wee, Beast at Every Threshold, (Arsenal Pulp, March 2022)

Yanyi, Dream of the Divided Field, (One World, March 2022) 

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What titles are you looking to pick up this season? We hope to hear more about what you’re diving into this spring! Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@lanternreview).


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Cover image of THE RENUNCIATIONS by Donika Kelly

The Renunciations by Donika Kelly (Graywolf Press, 2021)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

2022 Submissions FAQ: What to Know When Sending Us Your Work

Black-and-white photo of a bowl on a plain white background, overlaid with the words: "Submissions FAQs: Asian American Appetites, Lantern Review open submissions. March 15–April 18, 2022, lanternreview.submittable.com." Photo by Konrad Wojciechowski on Unsplash.
Check out our FAQs below, then head on over to Submittable to send us your work!

[Note: We’ve updated our FAQs for our 2022 season. Please read carefully; some things have changed since last year!]

Our final reading period (ever) is officially open as of this morning! So today on the blog, we thought we’d take some time to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions we get about submissions. First time sending us work? Before you head on over to check out our official guidelines on Submittable, we encourage you to take a quick read through the following.

1. What types of poems do you publish?

We love poems that surprise and challenge us; that are musical and filled with vivid, concrete imagery; that play with language in new and interesting ways; that take risks; that have something distinct to say. We tend to prefer unrhymed, free verse poems. Note: we no longer publish translations. To get the best idea of what we publish, we encourage you to read through a few of our past issues.

2. What kind of art are you looking for?

For visual art, we’re looking for abstract photos and digital or traditional work in mediums like watercolor, oil, acrylic, lino or woodblock, or collage. We like to choose images that we can easily juxtapose with text, either in the body of the magazine or as cover art. We’re fond of moody or earthy color palettes, striking contrast, and interestingly textured play with shadow and light. As stated above, the best way to get an idea of the type of art we publish is to look at our past issues.

3. How many times can I submit? Can I submit to both the poetry and visual art categories? 

You’re welcome to submit to both categories in a given reading period! However, please submit only once per category. We aren’t able to accommodate (and will not read) additional entries submitted in the same category.

4. If I’ve been published by LR before, can I submit again?

We ask contributors to wait one calendar year/season after publication before submitting again. (This means that anyone we published in 2021—including in our youth folio issue—should not submit this year.) Otherwise, past contribs are welcome to submit again!

5. Is there going to be a youth folio submissions period this year?

No, there will not be a separate submissions period for youth this year. But if you’re a young poet or artist between the ages of 14–24, you’re still more than welcome to submit during our regular reading period. We’d love to see your work!

6. Do I have to be Asian American for you to publish my work? Does my work have to be about being Asian American?

Our mission is to highlight Asian American poetry and art. That means we prioritize work from writers and artists who identify as Asian American. We also realize that “Asian American” is a broad and complex category—but bottom line, if you self-identify as Asian American, we want to see your work. (And if you don’t, we’d ask you to respectfully refrain from submitting.)

As for the second question—your work never has to be “about” your race, culture, or ethnic identity. We love getting to highlight the enormous diversity of topics and themes that contemporary Asian American poets are writing about!

7. How many poems should I send?

Our guidelines specify a maximum of four poems totaling no more than eight pages. (Please don’t send more than that; we won’t be able to read the extra poems.) But within that limit, feel free to send as many or as few as you’d like! It is often a good strategy to send at least a couple pieces if you’re also sending your work to other journals, though—that way, if one of your poems gets snapped up by another magazine first, we still have something to choose from if we want to publish you.

8. Can I email you my work instead of using Submittable?

Unfortunately, we only accept unsolicited submissions via Submittable. If you experience a problem with our Submittable forms, feel free to ask us about it via email, but we’ll still eventually ask you to submit your work via Submittable. This is actually a good thing for submitters—it’s easier for us to keep track of submissions when they’re all in one place, so by sending your work via Submittable only, you help ensure that we won’t accidentally miss or lose your work!

9. Your guidelines say that a poem can’t be previously published. What counts as “previously published”?

To us, “previously published” means that a piece has previously appeared in a published periodical (such as a literary journal), an anthology, a chapbook, or a collection (book), whether in print or online. This includes self-published chapbooks and books. (As a literary magazine, we claim standard first North American serial rights, and rights revert to you upon publication.) We realize there are lots of ambiguous cases out there, though, so if you’re ever unsure whether a piece that you intend to submit counts as “previously published,” please don’t hesitate to send us an email (editors [at] lanternreview [dot] com) and ask!

10. What are simultaneous submissions? What if my work gets accepted somewhere else while it’s still being considered by Lantern Review?

Simultaneous submissions are pieces that are currently being considered by more than one journal or contest. LR allows submitters to send in simultaneous submissions, but should a piece be accepted elsewhere, you must immediately contact us to withdraw it. The easiest way to do this is to message us on Submittable or to add a note to your submission indicating which piece is no longer available.

11. Submittable says that you are not accepting submissions, but it’s not after April 18th yetWhat’s going on?

This probably means that we’ve maxed out our submissions limit for the month. Submittable limits small publications like ours to a certain number of total submissions per calendar month. Once we’ve received that number of submissions, the form automatically shuts down for a time. Unfortunately, this is not something we have control over (we’re so sorry!)—but the good news is that the form reopens (and the counter resets) with the start of each new calendar month. Should this happen before the end of March, please don’t worry! The form will be up and running again on April 1st. During the month of April, we’ll keep things open until 11:59 PM PDT on April 18th, or until we max out our April limit—whichever is sooner. Note: This is why we recommend that you submit earlier in the reading period if possible. We tend to have fewer submissions in the first couple of weeks (i.e., the March portion of the reading period). If we receive too many submissions after April 1st and you wait until it’s closer to the 18th, you may get cut off before you have the chance to submit.

12. How soon will you get back to me?

We aim to get back to you within about eight weeks’ time after the submissions period ends. However, we’re a very small team, and occasionally, there may be delays. We ask for your patience while we go through the pile; please know that we haven’t forgotten you if you don’t hear from us right away after submitting—we’re working through as quickly as we possibly can.

13. This is LR‘s last season. If I get published this season, what will happen to my work after 2022 is over?

The LR team plans to keep our website and archives available online for as long as we’re able, even after we officially close our doors. Eventually, we hope to look into a more permanent solution for archiving the magazine and blog, but for now, contributors can rest assured that their work will remain available right here on our website for at least a couple more years yet.

14. I have a question about my submission! How do I reach you?

If you’ve already submitted your work, you can contact us by sending us a message via Submittable. If you haven’t submitted yet, please reach out to us via email at editors [at] lanternreview [dot] com. (To ensure that your message is received, please do not contact the editors or staff via their individual social media or websites. All LR-related queries should be directed to us via either Submittable or our official LR email account.)

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We hope this helps to clarify our submissions process a bit! We encourage you to send in your work early and to carefully read both our general guidelines and the guidelines for your category (poetry or art) before hitting “Submit.” And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email (editors [at] lanternreview [dot] com) or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview) should you have any questions. We look forward to reading your work!

Click here to Submit to Jan/Feb Open Submissions: Asian American Futures (Powered by Submittable)

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Cover image of NOT GOT WAY IS MY NAME by Alberto Ríos

Not Go Away Is My Name by Alberto Ríos (Copper Canyon, 2020)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Introducing Our 2022 Season: “Asian American Appetites”

LR 2022 submissions promo graphic. Black-and-white photo of a bowl on a plain white background, overlaid with the words: "Lantern Review: Asian American Appetites, call for submissions, March 15-April 18, 2022, lanternreview.submittable.com." Photo by Konrad Wojciechowski on Unsplash.
Save the date! Our 2022 reading period opens soon.

Get your submissions ready! Our annual reading period opens on March 15th. As with last year, our 2022 season will center around a theme—this year’s is “Asian American Appetites” (more on that below).

This morning, with a mixture of sadness and deep satisfaction, we’re also announcing that this season will be Lantern Review’s last. We’re so gratified by the work we’ve gotten to do in the Asian American poetry world over the course of the last twelve years, and the time has come for us to move on. Until then, though, you can expect another vibrant season of celebrating Asian American poetry. Please keep an eye out for the official opening announcement in a week or so. But in the meantime, here is our 2022 call.

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2022 Call for Submissions (Mar 15–Apr 18): “Asian American Appetites”

For Lantern Review’s finale season, we seek poetry and visual art that responds to the theme “Asian American Appetites.” Though LR is coming to an end, our appetite remains whetted for the future of Asian American poetry. So tell us: What are you hungry for? Personal or political, literal or figurative, we want to hear it all. Bring us your lists, your letters of desire and despair, your secret recipes and spells, your dreams, your hauntings, your prayers, your political hungers and private longings. However you interpret this call, we look forward to hearing what you have to say. Please read our guidelines carefully and send us your work. We will be accepting submissions from March 15th through April 18th (or until we hit our Submittable limit, whichever is earlier). 

This call is open to all poets who identify as Asian American. We especially welcome submissions from poets who have never been published by Lantern Review before and/or who identify with historically marginalized groups within the Asian American community.

* * *

Please save the dates and consider sending something our way. We can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to the table for our final issue!

Peace and Light,

The Editors


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Cover of PERFECT BLACK by Crystal Wilkinson

Perfect Black by Crystal Wilkinson (University Press of KY, 2021)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Six Questions for LR Intern Pranaya S. Ayyala

Close portrait of Pranaya S. Ayyala, Indian American poet, wearing a deep ocean blue sweatshirt and standing in front of a background of a gray bedroom. Her wavy brown hair is golden under the sunlight, falling a couple inches past her shoulders. She is wearing brown lipstick and large, light pink glasses. She is looking directly into the camera with a smile.
LR Editorial Intern Pranaya S. Ayyala (Photo by the poet)

Happy New Year. Starting this month, we’re privileged to welcome Pranaya S. Ayyala onto the LR team as our spring editorial intern! Pranaya is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is pursuing a minor in creative writing and a major in accounting. A poet and avid bibliophile, Pranaya will be contributing to our Asian American Poetry Companion series on the blog, as well as writing and helping out behind the scenes as we gear up towards submissions for our 2022 season. As you’ll be hearing from her from time to time, we thought we’d take a minute to help you get to know her. Read on to learn about some of Pranaya’s favorite recent reads, the superpower she wishes she had, the advice she’d give her younger self, and more.

LANTERN REVIEW: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to poetry? 

PRANAYA S. AYYALA: I’ve been writing poetry since I was fifteen, and I must admit, it wasn’t very good poetry at the beginning. It’s taken me time to fully create my own meaning for what poetry is in my life and my work, but I’m getting there! I’ve begun to experiment with my work, learning as much as I can about the art form. Taking formal courses to analyze other work has really helped me find my style and redefine writing for myself. Overall, I’ve started to see poetry for the vast form that it is and am finding joy in considering myself not only a writer, but also an artist of words!

LR: What obsessions or thematic interests drive your writing? 

PA: When I first wrote poetry, I found myself using my own experiences as themes, but as I’ve grown, I’ve found my writing encompassing the stories that others haven’t had a chance to tell. Stories about the generations before me and stories about the women of my family and my culture. These themes have led me to put topics that my culture often tiptoes around on the page—talking about bodies, trauma, and the immigrant experience—and how that melting pot of cultures within us interacts with America and society as a whole today.

LR: What are your favorite poets, poems, or poetry collections of the moment?

PA: I’ve currently been enjoying Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Ada Limón’s The Carrying, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, and Jane Wong’s How to Not Be Afraid of Everything.

LR: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

PA: I think a superpower I’d love to have is super-keen observation! Writing has consistently been one of the biggest aspects of my life since I was eight years old, and I’ve come to understand it as a sort of painting using my words. Observation and detail are key—to find the extraordinary in ordinary moments—and then to put a piece together and put it out into the world on its own journey. I’d love to remember those mundane but special moments in the same detail that I experienced them.

LR: What’s something you wish you could tell your younger self?

PA: I wish I could’ve been told earlier about how poetry and writing are art forms too—that I am allowed to follow as many or as few rules as I want when I am creating for myself. It’s this realization that helped me use my poetry as a medium as opposed to trying to write something “pleasing” to read, because after all, who defines whether art is pleasing or not? Or that it needs to be pleasing at all? It would have been nice to know that my writing is simply allowed to be. 

LR: Who are your Asian American role models? What are your hopes for the future of Asian American literature?

PA: Some of my Asian American models are people I’ve met fairly recently, actually! I think people like me, who grew up looking to writers as superheroes or celebrities, tend to think that writers aren’t normal people. I’ve learned otherwise these past few months. Working with Iris, Mia, Indrani, and talking to other Indian American writers has been life changing. I’ve also gotten the chance at university to work with other Asian American women, whom I really look up to as well. Poetry has given me a community whose welcoming nature I will never forget—I think it will always be one of those “mundane but special” moments! I really hope that Asian American literature maintains this same sense of community. I think we’re a super special group of people, and I think my biggest wish is that the younger generation will not have to seek us out with any special effort, that we can visibly be there to teach them that they are just as amazing and that there are people out there doing the work that they might want to do in the future as well.


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Cover image of THE CARRYING by Ada Limon

The Carrying by Ada Limón (Milkweed, 2018)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Announcing LR Issue 9.3 (Asian American Futures: Reclamation)

Cover image of LANTERN REVIEW Issue 9.3, Asian American Futures: “Reclamation,” featuring Sophia Zhao's mixed-media piece "Flavor": two figures with dark, cheekbone-length hair sit on the grass in front of a brown-sided, black-shingled building. The figure in the foreground, wearing black pants and a multicolored blouse printed with gingko leaves, clings to a wooden frame of a table on which a white rice bowl sits. The figure in the background, wearing all black, eats from the bowl with a pair of wood chopsticks. Behind them, birds fly against a red sky. Interspersed around them are collaged photographic images of two people eating lunch with chopsticks and the tiered roofs and steps of historic buildings in Asia.
Lantern Review Issue 9.3: “Reclamation.”

Happy Thursday! This morning, we’re incredibly excited to announce the release of our third and final volume focused on the theme “Asian American Futures,” Issue 9.3: “Reclamation.”

Featuring powerhouse poems by Franny Choi, Đỗ Nguyên Mai, Seelai Karzai, Megan Kim, E. J. Koh, Rita Mookerjee, and Cat Wei, as well as stunning cover art by Sophia Zhao, this issue wraps up our 2021 season with a triumphant bang. As guest editor Eugenia Leigh writes in the editorial note, the voices herein “reclaim their individual and collective narratives with ferocity and clarity. These poems don’t ask for permission—they demand agency as they resolutely tell and retell their stories their way. Look at this story I’ve been told about my life, they say. Look at this story we’ve been told about our lives. Then, with incredible, oftentimes transformative revisioning, they urge us to look again.” Indeed, the work in Issue 9.3 has made us want to revisit these powerful stories again and again—and as a team, we’re proud and honored to get to share it with you this morning.

Many thanks again to all of our amazing contributors, to Eugenia, to our fantastic staff readers, and most of all to you, our steadfast readers and community, for making this groundbreaking season possible. What a privilege it has been to explore what Asian America’s collective future(s) might mean in so many different ways throughout the year—and we couldn’t have done it without you.

We hope you’ll enjoy the bounty that Issue 9.3 has to offer, and as always, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview) to tell us what you think!

Wishing you a warm year’s end—and a happy and healthy 2022.

Peace and light always,

The LR editorial team

Read Lantern Review Issue 9.3: Asian American Futures, “Reclamation.”


Cover image of HERE IS THE SWEET HAND by francine j. harris

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Here Is the Sweet Hand by francine j. harris (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

An Asian American Poetry Companion: Books to Light Your Way into Winter (Late Fall 2021)

An Asian American Poetry Companion: November 2021. Collage of the following book covers (clockwise from top left): BOOK OF THE OTHER by Truong Tran, PILGRIM BELL by Kaveh Akbar, HOW TO NOT BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING by Jane Wong, FOCAL POINT by Jenny Qi, COME CLEAN by Joshua Nguyen, LATITUDE by Natasha Rao, FIRE IS NOT A COUNTRY by Cynthia Dewi Oka, GENGHIS CHAN ON DRUMS by John Yau
New and Notable Books by Asian American Poets for Late Fall 2021

As the season deepens into late fall, it’s hard to believe that 2021 is already nearly over. And while the year has brought its fair share of struggle and heartache to the Asian American community, there have been so many things to celebrate (especially in the field of arts and letters), as well. Cathy Park Hong’s selection as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year, Don Mee Choi receiving the MacArthur, Hoa Nguyen’s and Jackie Wang’s being announced as finalists for the National Book Award—Asian American poets are making waves and doing big, impactful things. This year on the blog alone, we’ve featured 34 new books by Asian American poets—and our coverage hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface. Today, we’re sharing our final set of book recommendations for 2021. We hope these eight titles will be a source of solidarity, hope, and light for you in the season to come.

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FEATURED PICKS:

Truong Tran, book of the other (Kaya Press, November 2021)

A timely meditation on the stakes of anti-Asian racism, Truong Tran’s latest book follows the story of the 2016 racial discrimination lawsuit the celebrated poet and artist filed against San Francisco State University. Mixing poetry with other genres, book of the other traces Tran’s experience of being silenced as an immigrant, refugee, and queer man, and argues back against the notion that anti-Asian racism is a victimless crime. Writes Douglas Kearney of the collection: “This book is necessary—terribly so. Yesterday, today, and for the foreseeable future.” This is one book that anyone invested in Asian American arts and letters—especially those who have spent time in academia—will want to read.

Jane Wong, How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, October 2021)

Two-time LR contributor Jane Wong has just released her second collection, How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, and we couldn’t be more excited. Wong’s haunting poetry is wise, resonant, and brave, and it’s impossible to turn away from its gaze; as a writer, she possesses the gift of being able to milk startling light from rock. How Not to Be Afraid of Everything taps into the poet’s family history, touching on both the suffering inflicted by the Great Leap Forward and the struggle of immigration to America. Aimee Nezhukumatathil calls the collection “a spellbinding knockout,” and it’s been getting lots of attention of late, including Wong’s recent appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition. How to Not Be Afraid of Everything is at the very top of our to-read list for the season, and we hope you’ll consider checking it out, as well.

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MORE NEW & NOTEWORTHY TITLES:

Kaveh Akbar, Pilgrim Bell (Graywolf, August 2021)

Joshua Nguyen, Come Clean (U of Wisconsin Press, October 2021)

Cynthia Dewi Oka, Fire Is Not a Country (TriQuarterly, November 2021)

Jenny Qi, Focal Point (Steel Toe, October 2021)

Natasha Rao, Latitude (Copper Canyon, September 2021)

John Yau, Genghis Chan on Drums (Omnidawn, October 2021)

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What new Asian American poetry titles have you been enjoying as you look ahead toward the end of the year? We’d love to hear from you! Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).


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Cover image of A HISTORY OF KINDNESS by Linda Hogan

A History of Kindness by Linda Hogan (Torrey House, 2020)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Introducing LR Issue 9.2 (Asian American Futures: Arrivals)!

Cover image of LANTERN REVIEW Issue 9.2, Asian American Futures: “Arrivals,” featuring Mendy Kong’s illustration “warm”: view from inside a room with a pale peach wall and white-framed abstract artwork. Sunlight comes from an unseen window to create four rectangular yellow shadows below the frame. To the left of the frame is an open doorway, in which we can see another window casting similar yellow shadows onto the ground near a seated person with long, dark hair. Two small, succulent-like plants are visible below the window, as well as a small stool holding a white cup
Lantern Review Issue 9.2: Asian American Futures, “Arrivals”

We’ve been looking forward to sharing our youth folio issue with you all year, and this morning, we’re thrilled to finally announce its release. The second installment in our 2021 season celebrating “Asian American Futures,” Issue 9.2 (titled “Arrivals”), features work by fourteen young poets and visual artists, all of whom were between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four at the time of submission.

Fair warning: this issue is truly a stunner. Poets Sloan Asakura, Jireh Deng, Diana, Alicia Kwok, Julian Parayno-Stoll, Lourdes Ramos, Shebati Sengupta, Esther Sun, Syd Westley, and Rachael Lin Wheeler—along with visual artists Elwing Gao, Michael Khuth, Mendy Kong (our cover artist), and cairo mo—astonish and delight with work that is as deeply resonant as it is beautifully crafted. As we observe in our editorial note, these talented emerging voices aren’t just writing about Asian American futures—their work represents the generation that is boldly shaping the future of Asian American letters now.

We hope you’ll enjoy making your way through this powerful issue—and that you’ll help us celebrate by passing on the word! Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think, or find us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

Peace and light always,
The LR editorial team

Read our youth folio, Lantern Review Issue 9.2: Asian American Futures, “Arrivals.”


Cover of CALL US WHAT WE CARRY by Amanda Gorman

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Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

An Asian American Poetry Companion: Fresh Books for Fall 2021

An Asian American Poetry Companion: September 2021. Cover images of the following books, clockwise from top left: THE CURIOUS THING by Sandra Lim, ORDINARY ANNALS by Monica Mody, YELLOW RAIN by Mai Der Vang, ORIGIN STORY by Gary Jackson, CUTLISH by Rajiv Mohabir, VIRGA by Shin Yu Pai, O.B.B. by Paolo Javier, THE LAST THING by Patrick Rosal.
New and Notable Asian American Poetry Books for Early Fall 2021

Even we find ourselves at the close of another challenging summer, Asian American voices continue to shine in print. Earlier this year, we celebrated the proliferation of spring Asian American poetry releases. Today, we’re excited to highlight just a small portion of the new and forthcoming works coming out of the AsAm poetry community this fall.

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FEATURED PICKS:

Gary Jackson, origin story (U of New Mexico Press, August 2021)

Gary Jackson’s second collection delves deep into family history, hopping back and forth across time and geography to tell the stories of Jackson’s Korean maternal grandmother, Dukie, and his mother, Kimberly. Sprinkling personal vignettes with missives in Dukie’s voice and erasures created from interviews with Kimberly, Jackson meditates on what it means to navigate among identities—Blackness and Asianness, Americanness and Koreanness—across continents, and through intersecting diasporas in search of belonging. We thoroughly enjoyed this powerful new collection and hope you’ll check it out as well.

Monica Mody, Ordinary Annals (above/ground, August 2021)

Contributor (and past staff writer) Monica Mody’s newest chapbook, written over the course of the last year, reflects on the tumultuous events of 2020 and 2021 as the poet herself contended with the US’s notoriously thorny visa system. In her signature resonant and deeply grounded poetic style, Mody examines the limits of the body in all its many senses—as creative work, as organism, as site of protest, as political subject, as resident (of community, of nation, of habitat, of ecosystem, of Earth)—resulting in a prescient work that, in the poet’s own words, “falter(s) towards a ripple, a ground of healing.” A beautiful artifact of these difficult times, this lovely little handmade chap is not one to miss.

Rajiv Mohabir, Cutlish (Four Way, September 2021)

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Rajiv Mohabir’s lush, melodic poetry. (We’ve published him three times, after all!) Cutlish is his third full-length collection, out this month from Four Way Books. Built around a semi-invented, musically inspired form that Mohabir calls a “chutney poem” after the work of Sundar Popo (considered the father of Caribbean Chutney music), Cutlish sets out to investigate the interstices of language and diaspora, postcolonial and queer identities. Patrick Rosal writes that, in its pages, “Mohabir leads us enthusiastically to the edges of language—torn, improvised, as well as deftly carved—where music and meaning are visually and sonically sumptuous.” If you’ve enjoyed the pieces of Mohabir’s that we’ve published in the past, you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of this book.

Mai Der Vang, Yellow Rain (Graywolf, September 2021)

We were lucky enough to publish Mai Der Vang’s work back in Issue 3, and we were incredibly excited to hear about her second book’s entry into the world this fall. Vang’s first collection, Afterland, won the Walt Whitman Award, and she’s now followed it up with Yellow Rain, which bears witness to the harm inflicted upon the Hmong people in Laos in the 70s and 80s by the chemical known as “yellow rain.” Using collaged language drawn from historical documents, Vang’s newest book promises to be just as searingly powerful as her first. Booklist has awarded it a starred review, and Kao Kalia Yang describes it as a “an indictment of the highest and most poetic order.” We can’t wait to dig into this one when it’s released later this month!

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MORE NEW & NOTEWORTHY TITLES:

Paolo Javier, O.B.B. (Nightboat, September 2021)

Sandra Lim, The Curious Thing (Norton, September 2021)

Shin Yu Pai, Virga (Empty Bowl, August 2021)

Patrick Rosal, The Last Thing: New & Selected Poems (Persea, September 2021)

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What new Asian American poetry titles are on your radar this season? We’d love to hear from you! Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).


ALSO RECOMMENDED:

Cover image of PLAYLIST FOR THE APOCALYPSE by Rita Dove

Playlist for the Apocalypse by Rita Dove
(Norton, 2021)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Thad Higa’s “From the Mountain” (Featured Poem)

ALT:  Feature image for Thad Higa's poem "From the Mountain." On the left, a black column with the title of the poem cascading down it in white. The words "From the Mountain" appear once at the top, and then again, reflected upside down, immediately beneath. The title is repeated again (both right side up and upside down) at the bottom of the column. To the right, on a white background, is a square outlined by a border of text (which reads "where are you from" repeatedly). Inside the square is a large sideways parenthesis, floating like an arc or a small rainbow. Piled up at its base is a pile of jumbled commas. Beneath that lies a yellow bar with a single blue semicolon. From the bar flow river-like lines composed of a variety of backwards and forwards words and phrases.

This week on the blog, it’s our privilege to feature the work of writer, book artist, and designer Thad Higa. For the past few months, Higa has been working on a visual poem with our 2021 theme of “Asian American Futures” in mind. Inspired by Kenji C. Liu’s frankenpo form, his immersive piece probes the age-old microaggressive question “Where are you from?” and investigates issues of language and belonging by merging wordplay with typography and digital collage.

Below, we’ve asked Higa to introduce his project and the concept behind it. When you’re ready to explore the poem itself in full, head on after the jump.


Artist’s Statement

The aesthetic was founded on frankenpo, a verb defined by poet Kenji C. Liu in his book Monsters I Have Been as: “to create a new poetic text by collecting, disaggregating, randomizing, rearranging, recombining, erasing, and reanimating one or more chosen bodies of text, for the purpose of divining or revealing new meaning often at odds with the original text.”

This is a digital broadside on identity ideation. It attempts to see words and concepts as identity-building materials that prop up binary, compartmentalized thinking. All variations of bodies and ways of being outside of this black/white vocabular are alien, invalid, dehumanized. “From the Mountain” wants to crack open English language and unveil the act of reading and judgement-making, to get at the root of seeing and knowing others and ourselves. 

Continue reading “Thad Higa’s “From the Mountain” (Featured Poem)”

LR Issue 9.1 (Asian American Futures: Horizons) Is Here!

Cover Image: LANTERN REVIEW Issue 9.1, Asian American Futures: “Horizon” (featuring painting by Tanzila Ahmed: six South Asian women with smoke-blue, braided hair, gold jewelry, and pink lips; hot pink laser beams shoot from their large eyes in every direction. Their heads and torsos float against a pink background and are hidden among green palms formed by collaged paper containing Urdu text about a Sufi saint. Water droplets the color of their hair fall around them.)
Lantern Review Issue 9.1: Asian American Futures, “Horizons”

At long last, Issue 9.1, the first in our 2021 season, is here! We’ve been talking about our theme, “Asian American Futures,” for months now, but when we finally sat down to work on this first issue, we were amazed at how naturally the pieces in it seemed to come together. From Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed’s colorful, witty cover art featuring a gathering of laser-eyed aunties to Joan Kwon Glass’s poem about her daughter’s love for Iron Man, Issue 9.1 is populated by superheroes, ghosts, space explorers, and other shared motifs that converge and riff off one another to carve out their own, sweeping futuristic visions.

In addition to Ahmed’s and Glass’s work, the issue also features poems from Cathy Linh Che, Chen Chen, Kirsten Shu-ying Chen, Geramee Hensley, Eddie Kim, and Bethany Swann. We’re in love with the courage, the hope, the fierce tenderness, and the wisdom to be found in these pieces, and we can’t wait to share them with you today.

We hope you’ll enjoy the issue, and as always, we’d love to hear your impressions! Leave us a comment below or let us know what you think on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

Peace and light always,
The LR editorial team

Click here to read Lantern Review Issue 9.21: Asian American Futures, “Horizons.”


ALSO RECOMMENDED:

Cover of SOMEBODY ELSE SOLD THE WORLD by Adrian Matejka

Somebody Else Sold the World by Adrian Matejka (Penguin, 2021)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.