LUMEN No. 4 Is Coming on Friday, and We’re Giving Away a Copy of ISAKO ISAKO to Celebrate!

LUMEN 4 is coming: Books We Wish We Had as Kids (Picture Book Edition)

It’s now a good solid month or two into the new academic year, and just in time to get ahead of that mid-semester slump, the fourth issue of Lumen is dropping on Friday!  Following up on Lumen No. 3, in which Iris shared some of her favorite middle-grade and YA books for young APA readers, in Lumen No. 4, Mia writes about books for younger children that she has enjoyed reading and sharing with her family. Here’s a sneak preview of some of her thoughts on the matter:

It’s a privilege to raise children in a literary landscape that includes such a wealth of talented APA children’s authors. . . . As a parent, I want nothing more than for my children to read books that enrich the imagination, that broaden their capacities for empathy, and that expand their worlds to include unfamiliar places and ways of living, while also affirming their lived experiences and the experiences of those around them.

If you’re not already subscribed to Lumen, you’re in luck! Not only are there four more days to subscribe before the newsletter hits inboxes this Friday, October 5th, but we are also celebrating by randomly giving away a copy of Mia’s new book, Isako Isako, to one of our subscribers. All you have to do to enter is the following:

  1. Be subscribed to Lumen by 11:59 pm PDT on Thursday, October 4th. (If you’re not yet a subscriber, you’ll need to sign up first, but existing subscribers are also eligible to enter!)
  2. Leave us a comment on this blog post with your name and the title of a contemporary kids’ or teen book by an APA author that you wish you’d had as a kid. (It can be a picture book, an early reader book, a middle-grade book, or YA book of any genre.) [UPDATE on 10/4/18: We’re now expanding the giveaway to our social accounts, too! See today’s posts on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts for instructions specific to each. Lumen subscribers can enter more than once, on more than one platform (as well as on the blog)—so fire away! We look forward to hearing from you.]
  3. Lumen subscribers may enter as many times as they like—each new comment that is left with a book title will count as one entry (though the same person may not repeat the same book’s title for more than one entry). After the giveaway closes, we’ll randomly choose one winner amongst the entries and will get in touch via the email address with which the winner is subscribed to Lumen.

[UPDATE on 10/5/18: Congratulations to Rachelle Cruz, our randomly chosen giveaway winner! Rachelle shared with us on Instagram that she wishes she’d had Ellen Oh’s Spirit Hunters when she was a kid. Thanks for the recommendation, Rachelle—we can’t wait to check out this spooky, October-appropriate tale. We’ll be in touch soon to coordinate sending you your prize copy of Isako Isako.]

We hope you’ll discover a new title or two to share with your favorite little ones in Lumen No. 4. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing about the books you wish you’d had when you were a kid!

Light and peace,

Iris & Mia

Five Questions for LR Editorial Intern Irene Hsu

Irene Hsu Headshot
LR Editorial Intern Irene Hsu

This fall, for the first time ever, we’ve been privileged to welcome an editorial intern onto the Lantern Review team. Irene Hsu is an emerging Bay Area poet with an impressive resumé, including an English degree from Stanford, past internships at Graywolf and the Loft Literary Center, reporting experience for The New Republic, and publication credits in AAWW’s The Margins and on the Loft’s blog, Writers’ Block. In addition to her editorial duties in helping to run the magazine, Irene has been managing our Twitter account, and she’ll also be contributing to our blog from time to time. (You might have seen her first blog post for us—a roundup of fall APA poetry collections—last week.) We feel extremely blessed to have Irene’s talent, passion, and sense of vision on board, and because you’ll likely be hearing a lot from her over the course of the next several months, we thought that it would be fun to help you get to know her with a little Q&A. Read on to find out how a Gabrielle Calvocoressi collection shaped her earliest forays into poetry, the name of the song that she’d love to perform in an “Aggretsuko-style” karaoke showdown—and more.

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

IRENE HSU: I thank the stars for one generous and intelligent mentor, Teresa Kim, who sent off my high school self with Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart. This collection forever shaped my understanding of poetry as a place for observation and a vehicle for time travel. Like many high-functioning kids, I grew up with a misguided sense that I was constantly running out of time to get from point A to B—without quite knowing where I was going, where I was coming from, and what I was allowing myself to fall into. In a significant way, poetry rescued me. Reading and writing poetry gave me a space to be more thoughtful, critical, and imaginative. It gave me permission to return and refashion. In college, Solmaz Sharif, Essy Stone, NoViolet Bulawayo, and Kai Carlson-Wee introduced me to other writers like Tracy K. Smith, Sharon Olds, Aracelis Girmay, Terrance Hayes, among others, who reconfigure sight, breath, and meaning to slow down and interrogate drawn boundaries. When I understood there was this literary ecosystem, I wanted to be a part of it, to learn how it ticked, and to tend to the corners that made transformative reading and profound writing possible.

LR: What obsessions drive your writing?

IH: Right now, this quote from Jenny Zhang: “Why doesn’t anyone consider the fact that when you are a second-generation immigrant and you speak this very specific mixture of Chinese and English, that’s also a dying language? After I die, my children, if I have children, they won’t speak that blend of Chinese and English.” I’ve been thinking about what it means to document and celebrate this fleeting and unstable space of bilingualism. It’s not simply a question of vocabulary, but also of grammatical nuance and non-standard accent that disappear because they are eradicated and, if not, looked down upon. I’ve been trying to cherish the fact that, long before I myself knew, my tongue and my mouth knew that they were not beholden to any one dialect or place.

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

IH: I find myself returning to poems that also double as stories vignettes, essays, and even films. Sally Wen Mao’s [short story] “Beasts of the Chase,” Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Yanyi’s poems from The Year of Blue Water, Danez Smith’s “Dinosaurs in the Hood,” Richard Siken’s “You Are Jeff”—poems that aren’t afraid to challenge narrative. Poems that use rhythm, word choice, image, and timing to rewrite and overwrite the dominant logics that shape the most intimate of moments.

LR: Go-to karaoke song?

IH: At the moment, Rina Sawayama’s entire album RINA. But I especially would be down for an Aggretsuko-style showdown with the daredevil power pop anthem “Take Me As I Am.”

LR: In an ideal world, where do you envision the future of Asian American poetry ten years from now?

IH: I imagine Asian American poetry not just as an ever-growing field of profound, creative works, but also as a robust system of support and cycle of mentorship for growing writers and readers. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have mentors who, at crucial times in my life, have willingly taken me under their wings, coached my writing, and encouraged a diverse reading diet. I want this for anyone who even remotely considers making writing and reading a significant chunk of their life. I want there to be a space for everyone who wants to be a part of this, wherever they are—in a city, in a suburb, in a small town.

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We hope you’ll join us in warmly welcoming Irene to the LR team. We are so excited to be working with her this season and can’t wait for you to read more from her in the months to come. For more about Irene and to read some of her writing, visit her website, irnhs.squarespace.com.

We’re Taking Submissions Again! Here’s Why You Should Send Us Your Work.

Image Description: Background photo is a black-and-white image of a shuttered French door, opened slightly to let light into a darkened room. Lantern Review is calling for submissions: Original Poems, New Translations, Visual Art. Submit online by November 30, 2018 to https://lanternreview.submittable.com/submit.
Send us your work! (Background photo credit: Bui Bao on Unsplash)

Happy Monday, Lantern Review community! This morning, we’re coming at you with a huge piece of news: as of today, we’re officially knocking the dust off the magazine and are finally (yes, finally!) opening our doors to submissions for our 2019 season. We can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to announce this; it’s our first open reading period in a really long time.

We know this is a development for which many of you have been patiently waiting, so before we say anything else, we’d like to take a moment to thank you—both for your patience and for your continued belief in us and in our work. It’s been your confidence in our mission and your encouragement that has continued to sustain us in these past few years while we’ve been slowly retooling our editorial focus and workflow. And while we can’t say that we’ve got everything figured out (because—let’s face it—we haven’t), we’ve come to realize that more than anything else, it’s the magazine whose absence everyone (including us) has felt the most. The one question that so many of you have faithfully, persistently continued to ask us—at readings, at conferences, at every event we’ve been to in the past four years—has always been this: “When are you going to start taking submissions again?”

Well, we’ve been listening. And we hear you. So today, we’re thrilled to be taking that first step toward bringing the magazine back. I think we can all agree that it’s about time.

Here are the logistical details. Our fall 2018 reading period officially opens today and will run until November 30, 2018. As in the past, we are looking for original poetry and new translations in a wide variety of voices and styles. And we are also eager to receive submissions of visual art and photography. To get a feel for the type of work we like, we suggest that you take a look at our archives—especially our most recent two issues (issue five and issue six).

One more important detail: In the past, we solely accepted submissions through our own, proprietary portal; however, in keeping with current digital practices in the literary world, we’ve decided to adopt Submittable as our new submissions platform going forward. The “Submit” links on our main site and blog will now take you to our Submittable page, where you can find both our guidelines and forms with which to submit your poetry, translations, and artwork. For the first time ever, you’ll also be able to better track your manuscript through our screening process—and we can now even accept multiple files at once for art submissions.

Whether you’re a past contributor or you’ve never submitted to us before, we hope that you’ll consider sending us a poem or two! And just in case you might still be on the fence, here are a few compelling reasons why we think you should send us your work:

Reason #1: It’s free!
We don’t like the idea of missing out on exciting new poetry and artwork just because of a submission fee, so you won’t have to pay to send us your work. Submitting to the magazine during our open reading period is completely free.

Reason #2: We love featuring newer voices alongside more established ones.
We’ve been blessed to have our pages graced by the likes of literary powerhouses like Oliver de la Paz, Amy Uyematsu, Luisa Igloria, Barbara Jane Reyes (among others!) in the past. But we’ve also enjoyed getting to publish emerging writers’ work—Ocean Vuong, for example, is highly successful today, but when we first published his work, he was still several years away from his first full-length collection. All this to say: We love getting to help our readership discover (and, hopefully, fall in love with) newer voices as well as more established ones. We’re conscious of trying to remain an accessible platform for writers with strong poetic voices at every stage of their careers.

Reason #3: We care about design and accessibility.
The visual impact of a poem matters to us. As does the user’s experience of navigating through it online. We love to work with our contributors to ensure that even pieces that float words across white space in complex formations are laid out in a way that honors the poet’s original vision. We don’t just throw the text of your poem into a preset blog template—we hand code each issue to ensure as much consistency among our readers’ experiences as possible, regardless of what browser or device they may be using. Furthermore, as we code, we keep in mind the fact that some of our audience may be using voice readers—and for future issues, we hope to be able to improve upon this further to create an even more accessible reading experience for all.

Intrigued? Head on over to our new Submittable page and send us your best. We can’t wait to read your work!

Cheers to new beginnings,
Iris and Mia

LUMEN No. 3 Drops Tomorrow, and We’re Talking about Diverse Books for Kids!

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month may be nearing its close, but as we all know, the challenge of representing APA voices on the page is one that continues year round. Lumen No. 3 (the third installment of our email newsletter) is about to drop into inboxes tomorrow, and we’re excited to announce that it will be the first of two newsletters focused on the topic of Asian American literature—not for adults, but for kids! These days, there is so much exciting, diverse work that is being published in the world of children’s books, and the titles that we’ll be talking about are stories that we have loved sharing with the youngsters in our lives and that we wish we had had as kids.

Why, you might ask, do we feel so strongly about this topic—though children are not LR ‘s primary audience? Here’s how Iris explains it in Lumen 3:

“Kids need books that will challenge them to see worlds outside of their own—but they also need books that offer them mirrors in which they can see themselves. And in the nineties [when I was the same age as my sixth graders], there just weren’t many kids’ or teen books that had characters like me or families like mine. . . . In short, I wasn’t only bored with the books in the teen section of the library; I just couldn’t relate to them.”

In this quarter’s newsletter, Iris will be putting on her “teacher hat” to discuss middle-grade and YA titles, focusing on three books that she enjoyed getting to share with her sixth-grade ELA students this past school year, and in Lumen No. 4 (to come in a few months’ time), Mia will be meditating on her thoughts as a parent on finding diverse books to share with younger APA readers.

If you’re already a Lumen subscriber, we hope you’ll enjoy sharing the books we talk about in these next two newsletters with the young people in your life. And if you’re not yet subscribed, there’s still time! Click here to sign up so that you won’t miss out when Lumen No. 3 drops tomorrow.

A very happy and healthy Memorial Day to all of you, and cheers to another wonderful APA Month!

Light and peace,

Iris & Mia

 

What Are Your 2018 Writing Intentions? Join Us for LUMEN No. 2 as We Discuss Ours!

Happy Wednesday! We hope you’re staying warm and cozy this frosty January day, especially those of you who are bracing for winter storms out East this week. It’s been a season full of transition for us here at LR, but we’ve really been enjoying leaning into the seasonal rhythm of writing for our new, quarterly email newsletter, Lumen. And today, we’re super excited to announce that the second installment of Lumen will be hitting our subscribers’ inboxes next Monday!

Lumen No. 1 focused on prompts and exercises for renewing one’s writing practice with the turn of the seasons, but Lumen No. 2 will be dedicated to considering the turn of the year—and specifically, the practice of setting intentions for our writing lives this year.

Just what is an intention? Here is a little sneak peek from the newsletter to explain:

Different from a goal or a resolution, an intention is more about calling a season into being or simply naming it for what it already is. An intention may be about realigning one’s perspective; refocusing one’s attention with renewed intensity; or even aspiring to sustain a rhythm of growth or rest in one’s day-to-day life. Intentions are not meant to have quantifiable end results—rather, they’re are meant to guide and center us throughout a course of time in one’s life.”

LR editors Mia and Iris will be sharing some of their own intentions as they consider where 2017 took their writing lives and where they hope to go in 2018. We hope that those of you who are already subscribed will join us in thinking about how we can each approach our writing practices with greater purpose and grace this year—and if you’re not already a Lumen subscriber, there’s still time to make sure you don’t miss out! Simply click here or on the image at the top of this post to sign up

A very happy, healthy New Year (and Year of the Dog) to you and yours—and may your writing in 2018 be filled with light, joy, and inspiration.

Light and peace,
Mia & Iris

 

 

Introducing LUMEN

Lumen Post Header

Hello, LR community! It’s great to be back from DC. The Smithsonian APAC’s Asian American Literature Festival two weekends ago was a truly amazing experience, beautifully tying together multiple literary generations, styles, and sub-communities (from spoken word to critical scholarship) in the best way possible.  We loved getting to catch up with old friends and had lots of fun meeting new faces in the literary lounge, where we were overwhelmed by your outpouring of support and enthusiasm. Thank you for making us feel so welcome!

As promised, we have some exciting news to share today. As announced at the festival, Lantern Review is getting a newsletter! There have been a lot of changes for us at LR these last few years, and we’ve been searching for a way to bring both more sustainability and more intimacy to what we do. The blog and the magazine are wonderful, but they require a lot of lead time due to the editorial process, and we’re not always able to deliver content to you with the sort of immediacy we’d like. Hence, we’ve created Lumen, a smaller-scale extension of LR that is sent right to your email inbox.

Lumen is not just your standard newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll get more than just updates; you’ll have access to exclusive content, including writing prompts, meditations on craft and writing practice, teaching ideas, tips on publishing, reading recommendations, and more. We’d like to envision Lumen as a living-room chat between friends, a catch-up over an afternoon cup of tea or coffee. You can think of it as the blog’s little sister, with the type of content that we have always provided, but with a more intimate format and feel.

So what does this mean for LR? Certainly, neither the blog nor the magazine is going away anytime soon. But the distribution of our editorial energy will be shifting a little. You’ll continue to see news and occasional full-length posts on the blog, but whereas we were very focused on the blog in the past, we now want to pour more of our energies into the magazine itself, so we’ll be concentrating on putting out more of our supplementary content via Lumen in the hopes of building toward a next issue sometime in the near future. Because we’re still experimenting with this new format, Lumen will come out quarterly for now, but if we feel that there is enough momentum to produce more installments, we may decide to increase the frequency of publication.

If you came by our table at the AALF, you should already be subscribed (if you haven’t received a welcome email yet, please check your spam or updates folders, or email us at editors [at] lanternreview [dot] com). And if not, getting linked up with Lumen couldn’t be easier. Simply fill out the form below, and you’ll receive a confirmation email in your inbox. Once you’ve confirmed your subscription, you’re all set! As a little thank-you gift for signing up, you’ll get access to a digital Little Poetry Flight created exclusively for Lumen subscribers, featuring work from Sally Wen Mao, Neil Aitken, and R. A. Villanueva. (Please note that even if you were receiving emails from us before as a contributor, you’ll need to sign up for Lumen directly, as it is an entirely different list).

We’re so very grateful for all of your continued support and are excited to build LR out in new directions through Lumen and more. We hope you’ll come along with us for the ride!

Subscribe to LUMEN

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Join Us at the Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival!

Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival
Join us at the Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival this week in DC!

Hello, internet! It’s been a while. But here we are, at last, and with an exciting update for you: this week, we are packing our bags and heading out to Washington, D.C. for the Smithsonian’s inaugural Asian American Literature Festival! We’re so excited to get to participate in this historic event, featuring (among other things) readings and mentoring sessions by Kundiman and the release of Poetry’s new Asian American issue (guest edited by past LR contributors Tarfia Faizullah and Timothy Yu). If you live in the DC area or are planning on traveling in for the festival, we hope you’ll come visit us at our table in the literary lounge (see the schedule for exact locations, as the festival’s venue changes each day). In typical LR fashion, we’ll be offering a special interactive experience to everyone who stops by to say hello: for this event, we’re hosting self-guided poetry “microtastings” that we’re calling “Little Poetry Flights.” If you’re familiar with the concept of a wine flight or a cheese flight, you’ll know immediately what we mean by this, but if not, here’s how they work: Little Poetry Flights are small groupings of poems from our archives that we’ve curated by theme and/or context in order to create unique poetry “tasting” experiences. If you stop by our table at the festival, Iris will chat with you and personally recommend a flight that best suits your interests. You’ll then be able to use your mobile device to read the flight of your choice, either on the spot or later on at your leisure.

We’ll also be debuting a bit of big news about the future of LR at the festival. Our official announcement about this won’t appear on the blog until later in August, so especially if you want to be the first to find out about what’s on the horizon for us, please stop by and say “hello”!

We’ve missed our community of readers and are looking forward to connecting with you in person next weekend. We hope we’ll get to see some of you at our table as well as at some of the many fantastic events that the organizers have planned. And if you’re just hearing about this now and live in the DC area, never fear—it’s not too late! The festival is free and open to the public; you can find out more information below:

Smithsonian Asian American Literature Festival
July 27–29, 2017 • Washington, DC
at the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, The Phillips Collection & Dupont Underground

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Are you planning on going to the Smithsonian AALF? If so, what events are you most excited about? Leave a comment to let other LR community members know which readings and other happenings are at the top of your must-see list.

Come Be “Here” with Us at APAture’s Literary Arts Showcase Next Friday!

APAture 2016: Here Promo Image
Join us at APAture’s Literary Arts Showcase next Friday! (Image courtesy KSW)

Happy Friday, APA poetry lovers! We have an exciting bit of news to share with you this morning: in exactly a week, we’ll be heading up to San Francisco to be a part of one of the biggest APA arts events in the Bay. This year, Lantern Review is delighted to have the opportunity to copresent the literary arts showcase for Kearny Street Workshop‘s annual APAture festival, featuring poet Jade Cho, author of In the Tongue of Ghosts (First Word Press, 2016).

Now in its fifteenth season, APAture, whose name plays on the photography term “aperture,” takes as its mission the goal of amplifying APA artists and giving them a stage on which to provide focus and context to their work. Fittingly, this year’s theme, “Here,” was chosen to emphasize, among other things, “the importance of APA space and community” (in the organizers’ words), even as the festival itself provides a space for investigation and celebration of the intersection of arts and social justice, innovation and disruption.

For us at LR, as we continue to ease into this new, Bay Area based season of our existence, the word “here” has never felt more relevant. Before our relaunch this past spring, “here” for us quite literally meant nowhere. Mia lived on one coast, while I (Iris) bounced around from the Midwest to the East Coast to the South, and our contributing staff writers lived everywhere in between. We often used to tell people who asked that we were “based on the internet.” But when we restarted LR early this year after a cross-country move that serendipitously brought us together in the Bay Area, “here,” for the first time, became somewhere. And in the months that have followed, the experience of getting to dwell within the space of a real, physical “here” has been wonderful. From getting to host our first physical NPM collaboration in SF, where we witnessed the words and voices of six local APA poets filling up the space of the American Bookbinders Museum; to finally having the ability to sit down face to face with local LR community members for casual meals and creative exchange on a regular basis—the moments of focus provided for us in this last year by receiving from existing local community spaces and building up new ones have been havens; little islands of light dotting the everyday shoals of the necessary things we do in order to keep the lights on.  “Here,” for so many years, was whatever we made of it. But at least for this small, precious sliver of current time, having a “here”—a home base, a place in which to let LR dwell and take root—has been invaluable. 

Throughout our history at LR, place and awareness of the liminality of “home space” for APA writers has been of utmost concern to us—it’s why we founded LR in the first place. And so, we’re beyond honored to partner with KSW, a storied organization that has been a crucial part of our new “here” and that has worked for years to build and facilitate “home space” for APA arts community in the Bay, to copresent the literary arts showcase at APAture 2016: Here.

A multi-day festival featuring more than sixty up-and-coming Asian Pacific American artists in fields such as comics and illustration, film, literary arts, music, performing arts, and visual arts, APAture will take place from September 30th through October 15th at various locations throughout San Francisco. We encourage you to check out as many of the showcases and performances as you can, but in particular, we hope you’ll come join LR next Friday at the literary showcase, where Oakland-based featured poet Jade Cho will mesmerize with powerful work that explores diaspora, race, gender, ghosts, and the intersections of power and privilege. It will definitely be a can’t-miss event, and we are beyond excited to get to be there, saying a few words about LR and community and hanging out at our little table. 

Here are the details:

APAture Literary Arts Showcase, feat. Jade Cho
October 7, 7–10pm (Tickets: $5 presale, $7–$10 at the door)
Arc Gallery & Studios | 1246 Folsom St., SF

APAture 2016 Literary Arts Showcase feat. Jade Cho

More information about the festival can be found here. Tickets can be purchased here.

Even if you can’t make the festival, we hope you’ll check out the KSW website for more information about its programs and outreach throughout the year, or that you might even consider helping to financially support APAture via its current IndieGoGo campaign. KSW and APAture are vital pillars of the APA arts scene in the Bay Area, and their tireless work has been integral in making the notion of a home space for APA artists in the Bay possible since 1972.

So how about it: Will you come be a part of our “here” by joining us at the APAture literary arts showcase next Friday? We certainly hope that your answer will be “yes”!

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This post was produced in partnership with Kearny Street WorkshopFor more information about the APAture festival or about KSW itself, we invite you to check out their website at www.kearnystreet.org. For information about next Friday’s featured performer, Jade Cho, please visit her online at jadecho.tumblr.com.

 

Editors’ Corner: Three Anthologies featuring #ActualAsianPoets to Consider Teaching this Fall

Nests and Strangers, Kuwento, Family Resemblance

It may still officially be summertime, but for those of us who balance our writing lives with scholarship and/or teaching, it’s already time to hang up the vacation gear and dust off the books in preparation for a new academic year. Thus far in this summer’s series of reading recommendations, we’ve brought you a couple of short critical reflections that have teased out thematic similarities between some recent collections by #ActualAsianPoets, but this month, in honor of back to school, we’re highlighting a three recent anthology titles (or to be technical, two anthologies and one edited collection of critical prose) that feature #ActualAsianPoets and that we think would be wonderful editions to the classroom this semester.

Kuwento: Lost Things: An Anthology of New Philippine Myths, edited by Rachelle Cruz and Melissa Sipin (Carayan Press, 2014)

Weaving together poetry, prose, and visual art, Kuwento, whose title means “story” in Tagalog, explores the notion of myth as told and retold by voices from the Philippine diaspora. Writes coeditor Melissa R. Sipin in a blog post on Kweli, “It is with this book we hope the invocation of the past is somehow answered, somehow quelled, somehow excavated, and thus reborn—reborn in our own terms, in our own myths, in our own kuwentos.” Containing selections by M. Evelina Galang, Oliver de la Paz, Sarah Gambito, Joseph Legaspi, Barbara Jane Reyes, Brian Ascalon Roley, Aimee Suzara, Eileen Tabios, Nick Carbó, and others, Kuwento appears to be both thoughtfully curated and expansive in its scope. We’d be eager to see it added to syllabuses for Asian American or Filipino Literature courses and workshops on the undergraduate or graduate levels. As with other groundbreaking anthologies such as How Do I Begin? (the seminal Hmong American anthology that we reviewed a few years ago) or Indivisible (the first anthology of South Asian American poetry, which we reviewed here and here), Kuwento could also likely work well in a community workshop context and perhaps even (in excerpted form) for younger students.

Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets, edited and with an introduction by Timothy Yu; afterword by Mg Roberts (Kelsey Street Press, 2015)

In this slim but mighty volume, Timothy Yu brings together four critical essays by female Asian American literary scholars, each of which focuses on a different pioneering Asian American women poet. Exploring the life and work of Myung Mi Kim, Nellie Wong, Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, and Bhanu Kapil, Nests and Strangers draws together thoughts on both the biographies and aesthetic impulses of each poet in order to better understand the import (and impact) of each of their poetry. It would be a wonderful resource for an advanced undergraduate seminar, especially for one focused on feminist poetics or Asian American literature.

Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genresedited by Marcela Sulak and Jacqueline Kolosov (Rose Metal Press, 2015)

Though not specifically an Asian American literature-focused anthology, Family Resemblance encompasses a diverse selection of literary voices, including a number of notable Asian American and Pacific Islander ones (e.g., Kazim Ali, Jenny Boully, Craig Santos Perez). The notion of hybridity is, of course, one that we explored in some depth in our fifth issue, and especially when contextualized with the metaphor of inheritance, as in this anthology, formal hybridity has unmistakable thematic resonances for scholars and students of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies. Personally recommended by our associate editor, Mia, Family Resemblance would fit well into almost any workshop setting (especially one exploring experimental or nontraditional forms) and would also be a wonderful means by which to diversify a syllabus and open doors for deeper consideration of issues of race, class, and gender in the university classroom.

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For those of you who are teachers, what diverse books are you including on your syllabuses this term, and what are some APIA-focused anthologies or critical collections you’ve taught that you’ve found to be especially successful? And if you’re a student, what are your dream APIA lit reading assignments for an inclusive workshop or literature course experience? We’d love to hear from you! Please tell us in the comments or chat with us about it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

Happy August to all of our readers, and to everyone who’s headed back to school soon, we wish you a smooth transition and a fulfilling academic year!

On Myth, Mystery, and “the Music of the Language”: A Conversation with Patrick Rosal

Patrick Rosal and BROOKLYN ANTEDILUVIAN Cover
Patrick Rosal and the cover of BROOKLYN ANTEDILUVIAN (photo of Rosal by Margarita Corporan)

This month, we were delighted to have had the chance to converse with poet and professor Patrick Rosal about the recent release of his fourth collection, Brooklyn Antediluvian. In our discussion, recorded below, he reflects on the themes and mythologies that shape the book as well as on the publishing process and the influences that music and young people have had on his work. (For yet more on Rosal’s process and inspiration, you can find our previous interview with him here.)

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LANTERN REVIEW: In Brooklyn Antediluvian, water is a central motif. It serves as a force that sweeps the movement of the collection along and is a metaphor for the violent submersion of identity enforced upon the colonial subject under the auspices of imperialism. How did you come to settle upon this motif? Why water, and what was it about the image of destruction by flood that compelled you?

PATRICK ROSAL: First, thanks for reading the book and doing this interview. I feel real lucky to have Lantern Review make space for this new collection.

Growing up in New Jersey, we were always in and around water. And I think we have a special relationship to water as Filipinos in America, having been the descendants of monsoon rains and of people who had to cross miles and miles of water (my grandfather was a sakada, a sugar laborer who sailed from Manila to Hawaii for work). Also, I have real specific memories of water—like my brother almost drowning when he was a toddler or the image of me and my cousins heading out to the Jersey shore mid-week to dive into the waves. And then there were the storms like Katrina and Ondoy and Sandy all in a relatively short period of time, each of which touched me in very personal ways. At some point, probably after I got a sense of the title poem, “Brooklyn Antediluvian,” I realized this book was going to be about waters and floods—which is to say, literal floods from those storms, but also the floods of memory, of roses, of violence, of joy, of names, of gentrification.

LR: The collection draws its name from the final piece in the book, a long poem that commands nearly a third of the text. What appeals to you about the long poem as a form? What was the process of drafting this particular long poem like for you, and what motivated your decision to structure the collection in this way, with the shorter poems up front and the long poem as a finale?

PR: My poems have been getting longer over the course of my four books. In Boneshepherds, I had a poem, “Ars Poetica: After a Dog,” that  felt massive, and in a lot of ways it’s a heftier poem than the title poem of Brooklyn Antediluvian, though the more recent poem is a lot longer in terms of pages.

In “Brooklyn Antediluvian” I loved having enough space to make things disappear and then suddenly show up again. I loved getting lost as I was writing because the language kept leading me away from any static subject. And just when chaos might take over, some small connection to a previous image—a rose or horse or name or the boy whom the speaker meets in the first line—would come back. It’s a different kind of lostness from [what you might find in] a short lyric. It’s a study in departure. Also, it gave me a big enough world that many histories and continents—especially in small narrative scales—could exist in the same text. All of this, for me, is a metaphor for seeing and living. I want to see if it’s possible to build a world in language that accommodates epochs and landscapes that seem to have nothing to do with one another. This seems to be the source of a lot of our trouble—parts of our world are so belligerently segregated from one another. What does a Berber pope have to do with a Filipino dietician who died in New Jersey, anyway? A long poem doesn’t just reveal those unusual and often wonderful associations, it finds a music—a pleasing sonic pattern—with which to connect them.

When I first started compiling the poems I wrote after Boneshepherds, I felt a real strong impulse to make a book that could still reach people who don’t consider themselves poetry readers. When I drafted the long title poem, I knew I had something that was going to be challenging even for audiences that consider themselves aficionados of contemporary poetry. I sent the manuscript out to friends, and they made it clear to me that I needed to set up a world of images, places, figures, and rhythms to help prepare the reader for the long poem at the end. Originally, I had the long poem at the front of the manuscript. In the final version of the book, [in which the poem’s at the end], I think readers have a stronger relationship to the ways of looking and singing that the title poem tries to sustain for a longer period of time and on a much bigger scale, with much trickier leaps.

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