Friends & Neighbors: Newly Released – Kartika Review Anthology & AALR Issue 2

For your edification: two new releases from the world of Asian American small press / journal publishing!  Please help support the good work that our friends at these magazines do:

The Asian American Literary Review has released its second issue, featuring, among other goodies, an interview with Arthur Sze and poetry by Ray Hsu, Kimiko Hahn, Rick Barot, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jose Watanabe (as translated by Michelle Har Kim), Adrienne Su, Prageeta Sharma, Ching-In Chen, Pimone Triplett, and Jeffrey Yang.  Subscriptions are available for purchase via their web site — and at the moment, they’re being offered at a special discount (shipping and handling charges waived) for a limited time, so order your copy soon if you can.

[Click here to visit AALR’s subscription page].

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On the digital magazine front, Kartika Review has just announced the release of its second [print] anthology, featuring work from their 5th-8th issues.  You can purchase a copy online through Lulu.

[Click here to order Kartika Review: The 2009-2010 Anthology]

Please help

Friends & Neighbors: 2011 Kundiman Poetry Prize (Submit by February 11th!)

It’s that time of year again.  Our friends at Kundiman and Alice James Books are accepting submissions of full-length poetry manuscripts  for their annual book prize.  This is a unique opportunity for Asian American poets of all stripes (they accept entries from both emerging and established poets), and we highly encourage you to consider submitting your work.  (Not to mention that this year they are accepting electronic submissions in addition to traditional paper sub’s—a plus for both the environment, and for the money saved on postage!)

A few details, from the Kundiman web site:

Kundiman and Alice James Books are accepting submissions of poetry manuscripts for The Kundiman Poetry Prize electronically and by regular mail through February 11, 2011. The Kundiman Poetry Prize welcomes submissions from emerging as well as established Asian American poets. Entrants must reside in the United States.

The winner receives $1000, book publication and a New York City feature reading.

Kudos to Kundiman and Alice James for continuing this tradition of helping Asian American poets to get their work out into the world. More information about the prize and its submission guidelines can be found on Kundiman’s web site.  Or see our Issue 1 Community Voices feature on Kundiman for more about the organization itself.

Friends & Neighbors: Sulu DC’s 1st Anniversary Show

Sulu DC's 1st Anniversary Show (Click to enlarge the poster)

Our staff columnist, Simone, who is one of the organizers of the Sulu DC series, recently alerted us to the following very cool event:

On November 20th,  Sulu DC will be celebrating their first year with a special anniversary show hosted by Kundiman faculty member Regie Cabico and featuring—among other music, dance, and poetry acts—a special performance by celebrity spoken word artist Beau Sia.

Here’s the dish on the event, as described in their official press materials:

On November 20th, under the Artisphere’s Dome Theatre—a new and innovative arts space in Arlington, VA—locally and nationally renowned AAPI performers will ignite the stage. From Bollywood flares to Taiko drums, spoken word to modern dance, comedians to rock bands, the Anniversary Show will surely entertain and inspire. Hosted by Regie Cabico with music by DJ The Pinstriped Rebel, the Anniversary Show will pay tribute to leaders who have significantly contributed to the local and regional AAPI community through art and arts education, and celebrate Sulu DC’s accomplishments. Additionally, ticket proceeds will provide scholarships for 5–7 Sulu DC representatives to participate in the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Spoken Word & Poetry Summit in Minneapolis in 2011.

The Sulu DC 1st Anniversary Show will take place on Saturday, November 20th at 6 pm, at ARTISPHERE, 1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209 (1 block from the Rosslyn Metro station; parking validated on site).  Tickets, which can be purchased in advance by following these instructions (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find them), include the price of food and drink, and cost $25 for Advance Purchase Online ( or $20 for Student with valid ID (or LiveGreen members).  Tickets will also be sold at the door for $35.

If you live in the DC area, we definitely encourage you to go and check out this landmark show.  As Simone has reminded us, tickets can sell out fast—so reserve yours soon.

Happy Birthday, Sulu DC, and congratulations on a successful first year!

Friends & Neighbors: Calls for Submission (AALR, Cha, Kartika Review, and others)

As we prepare to head into our late summer blog hiatus, we’re aware of the fact that several of our friends have recently put out new calls for submission.  We thought we would put together a little list of interesting opportunities for submission that have recently come to our attention:

The Asian American Literary Review is calling for electronic submissions for its third issue, to be published in Spring 2011.  Deadline is September 1st.  See their online guidelines for more details.

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is calling both for regular submissions to be included in its 13th Issue, and for submissions to its special themed 14th issue, which will focus on China.  Submissions are accepted electronically only. Deadline is December 15th for Issue 13, April 14th for the China Issue.  Complete guidelines for Issue 13 here; details about the China Issue here.

Kweli Journal, a publication that focuses on promoting the work of writers of color, is calling for submissions to its Fall/Winter 2010 issue.  Submissions are to be sent by postal mail.  Deadline is September 16th.  Guidelines here.

Kartika Review is calling for submissions in anticipation of future issues.  Kartika, which has a rolling policy for screening work, is now accepting submissions both via email and through its online submissions manager.  See their guidelines here.

BOXCAR Poetry Review and Cerise Press, which are edited by Asian American poets Neil Aitken and Fiona Sze-Lorrain, respectively, also have rolling submissions policies: look for BOXCAR‘s guidelines here, and Cerise‘s here.

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Finally, be on the lookout for the reopening of our own submissions period (in anticipation of our second issue), when we return in September.

Good luck, and see you on the other side of August!

Friends & Neighbors: Issue 1 of THE ASIAN AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW


It’s always exciting to receive a fat jiffy envelope with a book-like bulge in it when the mail comes. So when my copy of The Asian American Literary Review‘s inaugural issue arrived last month, I was especially ecstatic to rip into the envelope. Since the editors of AALR announced their presence online earlier this year, I had been eagerly anticipating their first issue.  Their pre-release publicity had advertised an impressive lineup of literary luminaries, and I must say that in every respect, the issue has managed to live up to the editors’ promises.

I’m going to focus on some of the poetry in the issue in a bit (since this is, after all, a poetry blog), but before I delve into that train of thought, I should note that I immensely enjoyed the prose in the issue, too.  I especially liked that the editors chose to began the issue with a “forum” (i.e. a series of position statements and replies) in which three Asian American writers (Alexander Chee, David Mura, Ru Freeman) responded to questions regarding the necessity and purpose of an Asian American literary magazine.  I enjoyed following the convergence and divergence of the participant’s different points of view, and in particular,  thought that their discussion about whether an Asian American writer must necessarily write ‘about’ his or her ethnicity brought up some very important questions, such as: do MFA programs disservice students of color by teaching them to write toward a “norm” set by mostly middle-class, white models?  Or, conversely, do they force students of color to conform their work to an particular “trope” or mode in which  “ethnic writing”  is expected to operate?  I also enjoyed the dialogue sparked by David Mura’s observations about the lack of longevity that has hitherto plagued many Asian American literary ventures.  Mura noted two problems that have contributed to this trend: 1) a lack of financial and administrative know-how, and 2) the divided nature of the Asian American community with regards to whether or not to claim a pan-Asian American identity.  I thought that Mura’s observations were spot-on. Young as LR is, my work on it thus far has already given me a taste of some of the challenges that he identifies.  I was especially struck by his point about lack of administrative manpower.  Administratively, LR is a two-woman operation and our solution thus far to keeping the administrative side of things manageable has been to keep the magazine relatively small.  But what of the future?  What will happen if LR expands beyond our administrative capacities?  Mura’s observations (and the ensuing responses by Chee and Freeman) touched on a very real concern for us, and served as a good reminder that in order to avoid burnout, we will need to be humble enough to seek out help when it’s necessary while remaining practical enough to stay grounded in whatever way we can.

Continue reading “Friends & Neighbors: Issue 1 of THE ASIAN AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW”

Friends & Neighbors: Doveglion Press Launched

We just received word last week that Issue 1 Contributor Barbara Jane Reyes and her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, have launched Doveglion Press.

Screenshot of Doveglion Press's Site

From Doveglion’s first blog entry:

“Doveglion Press is an independent publisher of political literature and orature. We are committed to publishing aesthetically diverse and challenging works of strong artistic merit.

Doveglion, the pen name which Jose Garcia Villa crafted from the dove, eagle, and lion, is a fantastic and hybrid creature, signifying the writer’s ability to embody multitudes, and from splintered selves, to reinvent, and to reconstruct him/herself anew.

Future projects include a semi-annual print journal, interactive blog with rotating guest writers, and an audio/video gallery.”

Please do head on over to check out the rest of their blog entries.  Personally, I’m loving their beautiful, spare site design, the force of Barbara & Oscar’s vision, and the operation’s small, focused feel (delightfully indie, immensely professional).

Congratulations, Barbara and Oscar!  We can’t wait to read Issue One, and look forward to following Doveglion as it grows.

Barbara Jane Reyes’ pieces “13. Black Jesus” and “10. For Al Robles” can be found in Issue One of Lantern Review.

Friends & Neighbors: Kartika Review #7, Cha in South China Morning Post

Here’s some news from the literary sphere: congratulations to our friends at Kartika Review, who put up their 7th issue earlier this month, and to the editors at Cha, whose work was recently featured in this beautifully laid-out article in the South China Morning Post (that’s the prominent English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, for those who aren’t familiar with it).

I know it’s a little late in coming, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to do a brief rundown of the poetry goodness inside both Kartika Issue 7 (which features a special section devoted to Asian American writers’ reflections on the theme of “home,” and the work of a new poetry editor, Kenji Liu), and Cha‘s February 2010 Issue (which features not just great poetry, but some of the most beautiful cover art I’ve seen from them yet). I’d encourage you to read both of these issues in their entirety, of course, but here are a few thoughts about what I particularly enjoyed in each:


Kartika Review #7 is, in my opinion, the magazine’s best issue yet.  I’ve really enjoyed the past two issues – but this issue really impressed with me by how quickly the publication has been getting bigger and better.  The work contained in this issue’s poetry section is, in my opinion, of a more even quality than in some of the earlier issues, and new poetry editor Kenji Liu’s four choices work well as a set: each successive poem speaks to the previous one, taking up its thread in some manner or contrasting it in a thought-provoking way.  The first three poems have to do with fathers and mothers and questions of inheritance, and the last – Aimee Suzara’s “We, too, made America” – expands this question to a broader “we,” claiming not just individual family histories, but a space in the  broader American narrative (harkening back to Langston Hughes’ “I, Too, Sing America”).  I enjoyed the compelling portrait of a man presented in Vuong Quoc Vu’s “My Father Sleeps” and the tension created between the interrogator and the respondent in Barbara Jane Reyes’ “One Question, Several Answers,” but Eugenia Leigh’s “Between Heaven and the Bedroom” was really a standout with its use of some truly knockout imagery to juxtapose the airily mythological with the small and domestic.  Its opening strikes me speechless: “Somewhere in the city with her slip-proof / shoes and apron, our mom locates an angel /tall as miles.”

I also really enjoyed the special “Meditations on Home” section at the end of this issue, and appreciate that the editors thought to package it as a .PDF packet for use by educators.  Oral histories like the ones contained in this issue are extremely valuable and important to preserve, and I like the idea of a classroom text that has been freshly generated and is available online at no cost to students.  Several of the respondents chose to tell their stories in poems rather than in prose, and it’s definitely worth checking these responses out — especially the striking contributions by David Mura and Kelly Zen Yie Tsai.

CHA Issue 10

As I mentioned earlier, the cover art on the current issue of Cha is absolutely gorgeous – I love the deep purple blooms around the woman’s face and how they seem to melt into the text of the issue itself.  As usual, though, I made a beeline straight for the poetry section.  One of the things I appreciate about Cha is that despite being a multi-genre journal it publishes an extensive amount of poetry in each issue.  This, I’m sure, has a lot to do with co-editor Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s being a poet herself, and it shows: the work they showcase is usually of a very consistent quality, and because there’s a relatively decent amount of room for poetry in the journal, they’re able to create a broader sense of continuity between work by both very established poets and people who are just emerging.  Some of my favorites moments from this issue included the frank, unflinching language of Papa Osmubal’s “A Bum’s Demise,” and the satisfyingly mouth-thick, incantational sonics of the two poems that were contributed by Angela Eun Ji Koh: “Our Malady” and “The Harvest Shaman.” I also thought it interesting that both the current issues of Kartika and Cha featured poems involving angels (Rocco di Giacomo’s “Angels” appears in Cha, Eugenia Leigh’s “Between Heaven and Earth” appears in Kartika).  Having gone back to reread Cha just before I read this issue of Kartika, it was fascinating to think of these two poems in conversation.

Many congratulations to the editors at both Kartika Review and Cha for their successful spring issues – and for the well-deserved amount of attention they’ve received for them.  Please do click over to check out their respective sites.  And while you’re at it – don’t forget that we at LR are building towards our own first issue; our submissions deadline is this Thursday, April 29th, and we’d love to see your work!

Friends & Neighbors: Issue 1 of The Asian American Literary Review Released

Congratulations to our friends at The Asian American Literary Review, who have just announced the release of their inaugural issue featuring poetry and prose by Oliver de la Paz, Mong-Lan, Cathy Song, Nick Carbo, Ed Lin, David Mura, and many other Asian American literary luminaries.

Issue 1 of The Asian American Literary Review is out!

The issue is available by snail mail for $12 plus shipping and handling, and may be obtained using the subscription form on their web site.  Copies can also be procured in person at their upcoming symposium or their panel at the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival in two weeks.

Friends & Neighbors: Weekend Roundup (Feb. 24-28, 2010)

Of note this weekend: Sandra Lim in Chicago, Jason Koo in Cleveland, Marilyn Chin in San Jose, Fay Chiang in NYC.  Also: Hyphen #19 release party in SF.  Please note that this weekend’s roundup only covers through February 28th — as we’ll be transitioning into a new format for our events listings starting on March 1st.  Look out for an announcement at the beginning of next week!

Continue reading “Friends & Neighbors: Weekend Roundup (Feb. 24-28, 2010)”

Friends & Neighbors: “8: A Symposium”

Our friends at The Asian American Literary Review have just passed on some information about an exciting event of theirs that is coming up in April.

8: A Symposium (sponsored by The Asian American Literary Review)

8: A Symposium: Voices from The Asian American Literary Review will feature free public readings, Q&A sessions, and book signings by eight highly accomplished Asian American writers: Karen Tei Yamashita, Sonya Chung, Kyoko Mori, April Naoko Heck, Ed Lin, Srikanth Reddy, Peter Bacho and Ru Freeman.   The symposium will be an all-day affair, and will take place on April 24th, 2010, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Ulrich Recital Hall as part of the University of Maryland, College Park’s, Maryland Day celebration.

For more information, please contact the organizers by email: asianamericanliteraryreview[at]gmail[dot]com.

If you live in the vicinity of Maryland or will be in the area around the time of April 24th, we highly encourage you to check out this event!