An Asian American Poetry Companion: Sizzling Reads For Summer (July 2022)

An Asian American Poetry Companion: July 2022. Cover images of LIGHT WAVES by Kirsten Shu-ying Chen, MOUTH SUGAR & SMOKE by Eric Tran, SEPARATION ANXIETY by Janice Lee, AND THOSE ASHEN HEAPS THAT CANTILEVERED VASE OF MOONLIGHT by Lynn Xu, O by Zeina Hashem Beck, THEY RISE LIKE A WAVE edited by Christine Kitano and Alycia Pirmohamed, IN THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY by Jane Kuo, THE LONELIEST WHALE BLUES by Sharon Suzuki-Martinez, TWO BROWN DOTS by Danni Quintos, and THE WET HEX by Sun Young Shin
New and Notable Books by Asian American Poets for July 2022

Summer just got even hotter with some exciting new works from Asian American poets. From a moving debut by a Lantern Review contributor to a middle-grade novel-in-verse, explore ten new and forthcoming works from the Asian American poetry community with us.

* * *

FROM THE LR COMMUNITY 

Kirsten Shu-ying Chen, light waves (Terrapin, May 2022)

If you enjoyed Kirsten Shu-ying Chen’s otherworldly portrait of her mother “Life on Mars” in Issue 9.1, get ready for her debut collection, light waves, which expands upon the world of the poem. As Omotara James writes, “light waves simultaneously reminds us of what we already know and what we too often forget: there just isn’t enough time, and yet, an abundance of joy is everywhere, for each of us.” A tender exploration of the loss of a mother, this powerful book is not one to miss.

Christine Kitano and Alycia Pirmohamed, editors, They Rise Like a Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets (Blue Oak, June 2022)

This landmark anthology is the first to feature exclusively poetry by Asian American women and nonbinary writers. The book includes eleven past Lantern Review contributors: Allison Albino, Franny Choi, Đỗ Nguyên Mai, Jenna Lê, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Michelle Peñaloza, Preeti Kaur Rajpal, Eileen R. Tabios, Annette Wong, Jane Wong, and Shelley Wong. (Lantern Review cofounders Iris A. Law and Mia Ayumi Malhotra are also included in the volume.)

MORE NEW & NOTEWORTHY PICKS

Zeina Hashem Beck, O, (Penguin Random House, July 2022)

Jane Kuo, In the Beautiful Country (Quill Tree, June 2022)

Janice Lee, Separation Anxiety (Clash, August 2022)

Danni Quintos, Two Brown Dots (BOA, April 2022)

Sun Yung Shin, The Wet Hex (Coffee House, June 2022)

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez, The Loneliest Whale Blues (The Word Works, May 2022)

Eric Tran, Mouth, Sugar, and Smoke (Diode, July 2022)

Lynn Xu, And Those Ashen Heaps That Cantilevered Vase of Moonlight (Wave, April 2022)

* * *

What’s on your summer poetry reading list? Tell us what titles you’ve picked up in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@lanternreview).


ALSO RECOMMENDED

Cover image of DIGEST by Gregory Pardlo

Digest by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books, 2014)

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: Mesmerizing Reads for APA Heritage Month (May 2022)

Header image. An Asian American Poetry Companion: May 2022. Cover images of Time Regime by Jhani Randhawa, Becoming AppalAsian by Lisa Kwong, Wanna Peek into My Notebook? by Barbara Jane Reyes, Spooks by Stella Wong, Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong, Girl 2.0 by Nora Hikari, The Convert's Heart Is Good to Eat by Melody S. Gee, Dear God, Dear Bones, Dear Yellow by Noor Hindi, The Trees Witness Everything by Victoria Chang, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, That Blue Trickster Time by Amy Uyematsu, As She Appears by Shelley Wong.
New and Notable Books by Asian American Poets for May 2022

Our Asian American Poetry Companion series is back, bringing you new titles that you won’t want to miss this May! Get ready to celebrate APA Heritage Month with a deep dive into some mesmerizing new books from Asian American poets. 

* * *

FROM THE LR COMMUNITY

Melody S. Gee, The Convert’s Heart Is Good to Eat, (Driftwood, May 2022) 

Melody S. Gee returns with her latest collection, The Convert’s Heart Is Good to Eat. If you enjoyed her poem “And So More” in Issue 7.3, The Convert’s Heart Is Good to Eat may be the perfect thing for you to pick up this month. Out now from Driftwood Press. 

Barbara Jane Reyes, Wanna Peek into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality, (Paloma, March 2022)

Issue 1 contributor Barbara Jane Reyes reclaims Pinay spaces through her exploration of diasporic Pinay poetics in this collection of lyric essays. If you enjoyed her two most recent collections, Letters to a Young Brown Girl and Invocation to Daughters, you’ll definitely want to pick this new volume up as well. Out now from Paloma Press. 

Amy Uyematsu, That Blue Trickster Time, (Bateau, March 2022)

Amy Uyematsu’s newest collection affirms Asian American identity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching back into her own family’s experience of incarceration during World War II and lifting up strong female elders from across time. If you enjoyed her poems “Thriftstore Haiku” in Issue 5 or “The Bachi-Bachi Buddhahead Blues” in Issue 7.2, be sure to put this collection down on your reading list for the spring. Out now with What Books Press. 

Ocean Vuong, Time Is A Mother, (Penguin Random House, April 2022) 

Ocean Vuong’s much-anticipated second collection, Time Is A Mother, is finally out from Penguin Random House! LR readers have been enjoying Vuong’s work since Issue 1, long before his novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, catapulted him into the national spotlight. If you enjoyed his previous collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, you’ll be sure to enjoy diving into his powerful return to poetry this spring.

Shelley Wong, As She Appears, (YesYes, May 2022) 

If you enjoyed Shelley Wong’s poem “Rivets and Cables” in Issue 6, get ready for her debut collection, As She Appears. Wong writes for queer women of color, rethinking the many different ways in which women take up space, and inviting them to appear as they are. As She Appears is available now from YesYes Books.

* * *

MORE NEW & NOTEWORTHY PICKS

Victoria Chang, The Trees Witness Everything, (Copper Canyon, April 2022)

Nora Hikari, Girl 2.0, (Seven Kitchens, March 2022)

Noor Hindi, Dear God, Dear Bones, Dear Yellow, (Haymarket, May 2022)

Lisa Kwong, Becoming AppalAsian, (Glass Lyre, April 2022)

Jhani Randhawa, Time Regime, (Gaudy Boy, April 2022)

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids, (Wayne State UP, March 2022)

Stella Wong, Spooks, (Saturnalia, March 2022)

* * *

What titles are you putting on your reading list for APA Heritage Month? We’d love to hear more about what you’re starting the summer off with! Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@lanternreview).


ALSO RECOMMENDED

Cover image of Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiun Nin

Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiún Nin (Astra House, 2022)

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: 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.

* * *

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) 

* * *

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).


ALSO RECOMMENDED

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.

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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)

* * *

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).


ALSO RECOMMENDED:

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.

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.

* * *

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!

* * *

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)

* * *

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.

An Asian American Poetry Companion: Must-Read Titles for Summer 2021

An Asian American Poetry Companion: May 2021. Clockwise from top left, cover images of: DIVINE FIRE by David Woo, A THOUSAND TIMES YOU LOSE YOUR TREASURE by Hoa Nguyen, DRAKKAR NOIR by MICHAEL CHANG, APPROPRIATE by Paisley Rekdal, THE GLASS CONSTELLATION by Arthur Sze, IMAGINE US, THE SWARM by Muriel Leung, SPARROWS AND DUST by Zilka Joseph, ELEVEN MILES TO JUNE by Ha Kiet Chau, IRON GODDESS OF MERCY by Larissa Lai, ANGEL AND HANNAH by Ishle Yi Park.
New and Notable Asian American Poetry Books for Early Summer 2021

Yet another Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is drawing to a close, but even in the face of the hatred that our Asian American community has faced this year, there is still so much to celebrate. This month’s Asian American poetry companion is jam-packed with recent releases to savor. We hope you’ll consider picking up a few (or all) of them to carry with you into the summer and beyond. After all, as we often remark, Asian American literary excellence doesn’t end with May!

* * *

FEATURED PICKS:

MICHAEL CHANG, Drakkar Noir (Bateau, May 2021)

If you enjoyed MICHAEL CHANG’s lusciously textured epistolary poem in Issue 8.2, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of Drakkar Noir, their prizewinning debut chapbook, out from Bateau this spring. Dorothy Chan writes, in praise of the book, that “CHANG gives us romp and runway fused with popular culture that leads into allegories of what it’s like to be queer and Asian American in America—in the world today—around people who want to slow you down. Drakkar Noir is a love letter to all queer Asian Americans that calls out performative allyship.” If you’re looking for an intimate read that speaks presciently to the present moment, you won’t want to miss this one!

Paisley Rekdal, Appropriate: A Provocation (Norton, February 2021)

Though Appropriate has been out since February, we wanted to save it for our May roundup because it seemed fitting to it feature during APA Heritage Month. In this thoughtful craft book, framed as a series of letters to a student, Rekdal tackles the thorny subject of appropriation with delicacy, investigating difficult questions of power and authenticity that come into play when writing about the experiences of others—and probing, ultimately, the limits of empathy. Rekdal writes with care and pragmatism; her nuanced approach to this tricky topic makes this, in our opinion, an essential read—not just for students and teachers but for anyone who writes.

Muriel Leung, Imagine Us, the Swarm (Nightboat, May 2021)

Muriel Leung’s second collection, which won the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, is hot off the presses this month. A collection of essays in verse, Imagine Us, the Swarm considers the loss of the poet’s father. In so doing, Monica Youn writes, it “renders visible the liminal space of the Asian American, an occupied territory in which every silence, every potentiality, hums with the white noise of other people’s imaginings.” Given the context of our community’s continued struggle for justice, and in light of our theme this season (Asian American futures), this collection is one we can’t wait to read.

* * *

MORE NEW AND NOTEWORTHY TITLES:

Ha Kiet Chau, Eleven Miles to June (Green Writers, April 2021)

Zilka Joseph, Sparrows and Dust (Ridgeway, April 2021)

Larissa Lai, Iron Goddess of Mercy (Arsenal Pulp, April 2021)

Hoa Nguyen, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave, April 2021)

Ishle Yi Park, Angel and Hannah (One World, May 2021)

Arthur Sze, The Glass Constellation (Copper Canyon, April 2021)

David Woo, Divine Fire (U of Georgia, March 2021)

* * *

What titles by Asian American poets are on your reading list this summer? 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 MIGRATORY SOUND by Sara Lupita Olivares

Migratory Sound by Sara Lupita Olivares
(U of Arizona Press, 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: Fresh Collections for National Poetry Month 2021

Alt Copy: An Asian American Poetry Companion: April 2021. Clockwise from top left are cover images of: LAST DAYS by Tamiko Beyer, CONTINUITY by Cynthia Arrieu-King, CLEAVE by Tiana Nobile, PEACH STATE by Adrienne Su, IF GOD IS A VIRUS by Seema Yasmin, PROMETEO by C. Dale Young, THE SUNFLOWER CAST A SPELL TO SAVE US FROM THE VOID by Jackie Wang, and WHAT HAPPENS IS NEITHER by Angela Narciso Torres.
New and Notable Asian American Poetry Books for April 2021

It’s a heavy time to be celebrating National Poetry Month. In the face of continued violence, our Asian American community aches. And yet, as our guest editor this season, Eugenia Leigh, shared on Twitter with regard to our theme for the season, “The racist hate crimes against Asian Americans don’t get to silence us. We get to define what #AsianAmericanFutures looks like.” If the wealth of new poetry titles by Asian American writers hitting the shelves this year is any indication, then the future of Asian America looks bright. Poetry as resistance, as resilience, as vision, as voice, as witness, as document, as radical care, as light—that alone is something to celebrate.

* * *

FEATURED PICKS:

Cynthia Arrieu-King, Continuity (Octopus, April 2021)

Cynthia Arrieu-King has not one, but two new books out this spring. In addition to her lyric essay, The Betweens (Noemi, March 2021), her latest collection, Continuity, hits shelves this month. Arrieu-King has observed that she envisions Continuity as the second half of a “double album.” While her previous collection, Futureless Languages, looks ahead, Continuity dips into the past, excavating histories of war and inherited trauma. Laura Jaramillo describes the poems in the collection as “sonically soft and visually holographic, sensorially pleasurable and richly melancholy.” If you’ve enjoyed Arrieu-King’s previous books as much as I have, then Continuity is sure to be a title you won’t want to miss.

Tamiko Beyer, Last Days (Alice James, April 2021)

Our theme for the season is “Asian American Futures,” a notion that issue 1 contributor Tamiko Beyer’s newest collection, Last Days, embodies wonderfully. Featuring a group of charismatic young revolutionaries and their struggle to navigate a post-apocalyptic world, Last Days celebrates hope, resilient joy, and the beauty of human interconnectedness. Beyer writes with the deep tenderness, empathy, and breathtaking lyric clarity that is a hallmark of her work. I had the chance to preview the collection earlier this year, and it’s been one of my favorite reads of 2021 so far.

Tiana Nobile, Cleave (Hub City, April 2021)

The title of Tiana Nobile’s first collection, Cleave, is a contranym—a choice that, per the Southern Review of Books’s interview with the author, nods to the complexity of her experience as a transnational adoptee. Accordingly, Cleave mixes research with personal history to interrogate the legacy of transnational adoption. The result, writes Cathy Park Hong, is a “mythic origin story that is beautiful, melancholic and powerful.” I’ve enjoyed reading individual pieces from Nobile’s project in the past and admire the way she’s combined meticulous craft with an unflinching sense of vision. Now that Cleave is finally out in the world, I can’t wait to dig into the collection in its entirety!

* * *

MORE NEW AND NOTEWORTHY TITLES:

Adrienne Su, Peach State (U of Pittsburgh, March 2021)

Angela Narciso Torres, What Happens Is Neither (Four Way, February 2021)

Jackie Wang, The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void (Nightboat, January 2021)

Seema Yasmin, If God Is a Virus (Haymarket, April 2021)

C. Dale Young, Prometeo (Four Way, February 2021)

* * *

We hope you’ll consider giving one of these books a read this month. As always, if you are able, we encourage you to support small presses and local independent bookstores (especially BIPOC-owned bookstores) with your purchases. And we’d love to hear from you! What Asian American poetry books are on your radar this April? Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).


ALSO RECOMMENDED

Cover image of Sonia Sanchez's COLLECTIVE POEMS

Sonia Sanchez, Collected Poems (Beacon, 2021)

Please consider supporting an 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.

A December APA Poetry Companion: Warm Books for Winter

An APA Poetry Companion: December 2020. Cover images of MON by Mina Khan, FUGITIVE ATLAS by Khaled Mattawa, WOMEN IN THE WAITING ROOM by Kirun Kapur, PINK MOUNTAIN ON LOCUST ISLAND by Jamie Marina Lau, FABLESQUE by Anna Maria Hong, SOME GIRLS WALK INTO THE COUNTRY THEY ARE FROM by Sawako Nakayasu, PHONE BELLS KEEP RINGING FOR ME by Choi Seungja (trans. Won-Chung Kim and Cathy Park Hong), SALAT by Dujie Tahat
New and notable APA poetry books for December 2020

As it gets deeper into winter, here are some exciting new and forthcoming releases to warm your spirit.

* * *

FEATURED PICKS

Anna Maria Hong, Fablesque (Tupelo Press, Sep 2020)

Anna Maria Hong’s second poetry collection, Fablesque, was the winner of Tupelo Press’s 2017 Berkshire Prize. The book connects old animal fables with women of the modern world, weaving in trauma and rebirth in the context of the #MeToo era. We’re delighted to see this collection on the shelves and hope you’ll look for it, too. 

Sawako Nakayasu, Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From (Wave Books, Oct 2020)

Another book we’re excited about is Sawako Nakayasu’s first poetry collection in seven years. Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From follows a cast of “girls” who embody various representations of the female diasporic subject. We can’t wait to dive into the pages of this book and hope you’ll check it out as well. 

Dujie Tahat, Salat (Tupelo Press, Jan 2021)

Issue 7.1 contributor Dujie Tahat brings us a new collection, Salat, for the start of the new year. In it, he takes prayer as form. Hanif Abdurraqib writes that Tahat’s poems add “history, image, and narrative flair. [The poet] weaves all of these things together like a song, summoning people to a holy space.” If you’ve enjoyed Tahat’s work in the past as we have, you’re sure to enjoy this upcoming release as well.

* * *

MORE NEW AND NOTEWORTHY TITLES

Kirun Kapur, Women in the Waiting Room (Black Lawrence Press, Oct 2020)

Mina Khan, MON (monuments monarchs & monsters) (Sputnik & Fizzle, Oct 2020)

Jamie Marina Lau, Pink Mountain on Locust Island (Coffee House Press, Sep 2020)

Khaled Mattawa, Fugitive Atlas (Graywolf, Oct 2020)

Choi Seungja (trans. Won-Chung Kim and Cathy Park Hong), Phone Bells Keep Ringing for Me (Action Books, Oct 2020)

* * *

We hope you’ll enjoy some of these picks—and even share them with friends and family—this winter. What else is on your reading list? Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

* * *

Cover image of KONTEMPORARY AMERIKAN POETRY by John Murillo

ALSO RECOMMENDED

John Murillo, Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020)

Please consider supporting an indie bookstore with your purchase.

As an APA-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-APA-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

An October APA Poetry Companion: Books to Curl Up With for Fall

An APA Poetry Companion: October 2020. Cover images of MAPS FOR MIGRANTS AND GHOSTS by Luisa A. Igloria, RAIN IN PLURAL by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. BESTIARY by K-Ming Chang, THIS IS THEN THAT WAS NOW by Vijay Seshadri, STRIP by Jessica Abughattas, THE VOICE OF SHEILA CHANDRA by Kazim Ali, WHAT HE DID IN SOLITARY by Amit Majumdar, and UNDERWORLD LIT by Srikanth Reddy
New and notable APA poetry books for October 2020

As the leaves change colors and fall, here are a few September and October books by APA poets and writers we’re excited to dig into. 

FEATURED PICKS

Kazim Ali, The Voice of Sheila Chandra, (Alice James Books, Oct. 2020)

We’re excited to see that Kazim Ali has a new poetry collection out, The Voice of Sheila Chandra. Named after a singer who lost her voice, the book weaves three long poems together to make a central statement that Ilya Kaminsky says is “far larger than the sum of its parts.” Sam Sax describes the collection as “part research document, part song, part deep excavation of the soul.” With that kind of ringing endorsement, this book is certain to be one we’ll enjoy. 

Luisa A. Igloria, Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, (Southern Illinois University Press, Sep. 2020)

Two-time contributor Luisa A. Igloria, who was recently named poet laureate of Virginia, also has a new book out this fall. Maps for Migrants and Ghosts explores the diasporic experience and brings in the poet’s own personal history, from the Philippines to her immigrant home in Virginia. We’re big fans of Igloria’s work here at LR, and we look forward to reading her latest.

Srikanth Reddy, Underworld Lit, (Wave Books, Aug. 2020)

Wave Books describes Srikanth Reddy’s Underworld Lit as “a multiverse quest through various cultures’ realms of the dead.” A serial prose poem, the book takes readers on a “Dantesque” tour from professor’s classrooms to Mayan underworlds and beyond. We’re excited to dip into this epic journey in verse and hope you’ll check it out, as well.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Rain in Plural, (Princeton University Press, Sep. 2020)

Issue 6 contributor Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s fourth book of original poems, Rain in Plural, just hit shelves last month. In this collection, she uses language to uncover questions of citizenship, memory, and image. We love Sze-Lorrain’s lush, musical sensibilities and have covered several of her previous books on the blog. If you’ve enjoyed her work in the past, you’re sure to enjoy Rain in Plural, too!

* * *

MORE NEW AND NOTEWORTHY TITLES

Jessica Abughattas, Strip, (University of Arkansas Press, Oct. 2020)

K-Ming Chang, Bestiary, (Penguin Random House, Sep. 2020)

Amit Majmudar, What He Did in Solitary, (Penguin Random House, Aug. 2020)

Vijay Seshadri, That Was Now, This is Then, (Graywolf Press, Oct. 2020)

* * *

We hope youll curl up with some of these picks this upcoming fall. What else is on your reading list? Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

* * *

ALSO RECOMMENDED

Cover image of EVERY DAY WE GET MORE ILLEGAL by Juan Felipe Huerrara.

Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Huerrera (City Lights Publishers, 2020)

Please consider supporting an independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an APA–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-APA-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Black Lives Matter. APAs Must Stand in Solidarity.

Black square with white text reading, in all caps, "BLACK LIVES MATTER."
#BlackLivesMatter.

We at Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry believe that Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with the fight against police brutality and systemic racial injustice. We also acknowledge our own APA communities’ complicity in anti-Black racism and commit to working against it.

APAs not only should stand for Black lives—we must. Here are some resources and places that our community can start.

Some History

“‘Model Minority’ Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians and Blacks” (Via NPR Code Switch)

“Asian Americans and the Legacy of Antiblackness” (from Brown’s In Defense of Affirmative Action: A Guide for Asian American Students)

“Solidarity Matters: Black History Month Through An Asian American Lens” (via AAPIP.org)

“Dismantling the Barrier Between Asians and African Americans” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Tools & Educational Resources

Letters for Black Lives | Developed in response to the shooting of Akai Gurley by Peter Liang, this tool for explaining to our APA elders and loved ones why Black lives should matter to us provides helpful scripts in multiple languages than can help to broach the difficult subject of endemic anti-Black racism within our communities.

“Tips for Talking to People In Your Lives About Anti-Blackness” (Opens in Instagram) | This post from @southasians4blacklives discusses some strategies for addressing anti-Black racism with loved ones, especially in the AsAm community.

“20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now” | Michelle Kim offers a list of ways for Asian Americans to stand with the Black community, along with a brief summary of some helpful historical and sociopolitical context.

26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets | This pamphlet provides some sound advice about how to support protests and protestors even if you are not able to be on the ground in person. It also contains a helpful reminder to the API community to not allow our race or the model minority myth to be used as a wedge.

Talking About Race (Online Portal) | This educational site from the National Museum of African American History & Culture provides tools and information for helping educators, parents, and individuals committed to equity to engage in important and meaningful discussions about race.

Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit | This toolkit from the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, covers an enormous range of helpful topics but also includes a specific “For Black Lives” section that covers useful information and provides exercises and prompts to aid in discussion, engagement, and understanding.

Reading Lists

Black and Asian American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List (via Black Women Radicals)

Black History Month Reading List for Asian Americans (via 18 Million Rising)

Black Lives Matter Syllabus (via Black Lives Matter, Williamsburg, VA)

Abolition Study List by Dr. Ashanté M. Reese

Anti-Racist Reading List by Ibram M. Kendi

31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance (via edubirdie—link updated 9/2021)

1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide (from Marley Dias’s #1000blackgirlbooks campaign)

Some Recommended Books by Black Poets

Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History by Camille T. Dungy

Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady

Hum by Jamaal May

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith

Places to Donate

List of Bail Funds by City

Black Lives Matter

The Movement for Black Lives

Reclaim the Block (Minneapolis)

National Police Accountability Project

Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100)

NAACP

Petitions and Letters

Justice for George Floyd

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Justice for Ahmaud Arbery

Open Letter of Solidarity from the Asian Minnesotans Against Racism & Xenophobia Collaborative (via Coalition of Asian American Leaders)

What else can I do?

If you are able, consider attending a protest. If you are a non-Black Asian American, use your body (and your privilege) to protect others when you can. Call elected officials and write letters, sign petitions, wield your vote at the ballot box (and speak up against voter suppression). It’s also important to amplify Black voices. Buy books by Black writers, share their work online, and support Black-owned bookstores. If you teach, include work by Black writers in your curriculums and syllabuses year round. If you are a parent, have conversations about racial injustice with your children and read books by Black authors and that center Black protagonists’ stories. Make a donations to organizations like Cave Canem that support Black writers and artists. Be thoughtful in your own written and spoken language, whether formal or informal (including online). Do not appropriate Black culture or African American Vernacular English (AAVE); do not engage in or support literary blackface; do not put yourself at the center of conversations about police brutality or other issues that affect the Black community. Most of all, read, learn, listen, acknowledge your privilege, combat racism within yourself, and educate others in your community. We can—and must—work for change together.