LR News: National Poetry Month 2013 Giveaway Results

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Thank you so much to all of you who entered our 2013 National Poetry Month giveaway!  This weekend, we put the total number of entries (comments) received through a random number generator, and let it choose the number of the winning comment for us:

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And the winner is  . . .

Noel Mariano (comment #13), who writes that he is currently in the midst of reading Barbara Jane Reyes’s Diwata and re-reading Bino Realuyo’s The Gods We Worship Live Next Door.

Here’s a screenshot of his comment:

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Noel will receive a 1-year subscription to the Asian American Literary Review (courtesy of AALR), a copy of Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut’s Magnetic Refrain (courtesy of Kaya Press), and a copy of Henry W. Leung’s Paradise Hunger (courtesy of the author). Congratulations, Noel!  We hope you’ll enjoy your prize!

Also as promised, each of the first ten commentors to have entered the contest will receive a bundle of five of our poetry starter packs. These lucky ten people are, in the order in which their comments were received:

  1. Rumit Pancholi, who’s reading Li-Young Lee and Garrett Hongo.
  2. Cathy Linh Che, who adores Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors.
  3. R., who has Myung Mi Kim and Barbara Jane Reyes on the top of their list.
  4. Roberto Ascalon, who’s reading Jon Pineda and looking forward to Jason Bayani’s Amulet.
  5. Michelle Penaloza, who recommends both Eugene Gloria and Luisa Igloria.
  6. Luisa Igloria, who wrote of her love for Paisley Rekdal’s work.
  7. Michelle Lin, who’s enjoying Kimiko Hahn’s The Narrow Road to the Interioat the moment.
  8. Rachelle, who’s reading Brynn Saito and Jason Bayani, and is waiting for Manila Noir (ed. Jessica Hagedorn)
  9. Jane Wong, who recently finished (and loved) Lynn Xu’s Debts and Lessons and also recommends the work of Cathy Park Hong (having recently read Engine Empire) and Myung Mi Kim.
  10. Kristen Eliason, who says she visits and revisits For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Takashi Hiraide, Mad Science in Imperial City by Shanxing Wang, and Incubation: A Space for Monsters by Bhanu Kapil.

We were thrilled to see everyone’s responses. There was a wide range of names mentioned in the thirty-four comments that were left on the original post; Ching-In Chen, Kimiko Hahn, and Li-Young Lee topped the list at 4, 3, and 3 mentions each, while a number of other poets (Jason Bayani, Tarfia Faizullah, Bhanu Kapil, Myung Mi Kim, Karen Llagas, Barbara Jane Reyes, Ocean Vuong, Lynn Xu, and Andre Yang) were mentioned twice. Other writers who showed up on people’s lists included: Arthur Sze, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Dilruba Ahmed, Angie Chuang, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Kenji Liu, David Maduli, Pos L. Moua, Soul Choj Vang, Ka Vang, Sesshu Foster, Angela Torres, Matthew Olzmann, Koon Woon, Allen Qing Yuan, Beau Sia, Amy Uyematsu, Russell Leong, Mitsuye Yamada, Joel Tan, Tsering Wangmo, Lee Herrick, Hiroshi Kashiwagi, David S. Cho, Bao Phi, Ed Bok Lee, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Sasha Pimental Chacon, Burlee Vang, Ishle Yi Park, Sally Wen Mao, Lo Kwa Mei-En, and Hoa Nguyen. (To read about these recommendations  in more detail, click here to see the original post). Many commentors also took the time to leave detailed remarks about the work of the poets they’d mentioned. Their recommendations have definitely nudged us to add several names and  titles to our reading lists, and we hope they’ve inspired you, too!

Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you so much again to everyone who entered, as well as to our generous sponsors, AALR, Kaya, and Henry Leung. A very happy tail end of National Poetry Month to you all!  We’ll see you on the flip side, in May, when we’ll continue our celebration of Asian American poetry with more special content for APIA Heritage Month.

LR News: A Giveaway for National Poetry Month 2013

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Happy April! It’s national poetry month, and as usual, we’re celebrating both this month and next (APIA heritage month) on the LR blog with lots of Asian American poetry goodness. This year, for April, we’ll be running an installment of our annual Process Profiles series, and we’ve also teamed up with our friends at the Asian American Literary Review and Kaya Press to offer a giveaway that includes some truly awesome prizes.

First, though, we want to hear from you: what Asian American poets are on your reading list for this April, or what’s one poet whom you’d recommend to people who want to read more Asian American poetry this month? Leave a comment on this post by April 22nd with the name of at least one Asian American poet whose work you love, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win a 1-year subscription to AALR, a copy of Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut’s Magnetic Refrain (reviewed on our blog here), and a copy of our very own Henry W. Leung’s chapbook, Paradise Hunger.

But the APIA poetry love doesn’t stop there! Those of you who follow us on Facebook might remember seeing pictures of the “Poetry Starter Packs” from our AWP display this year—little envelopes containing prompts and ekphrastic/found inspiration that we handed out to passers-by in the bookfair. Well, if you weren’t able to make AWP (or even if you picked up a starter pack there, but want more to share), here is your chance: we’ll be giving away bundles of 5 poetry starter packs—some to keep, and some to share—to each of the first ten (10) people to enter!

To help get you thinking, we thought we’d ask some of our Issue 5 contributors what Asian American poets they’ve been reading or whose work they’d recommend to others this month. Here’s what a couple of them said.

From Ching-In Chen:

 I adore Larissa Lai’s Eggs in the Basement because she generated/mutated the whole body of language/the story from the actual language that she is playing with: “I generated a body of source text in a ten-minute automatic exercise, separated it as neatly as possible into subjects and predicates and wrote the poem by repeating first all the subjects and and cycling through the predicates in the first half, and then reversing the procedure for the second. Strangely, the result is loosely the story of Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, in which two murders are committed by a collective: an initial one, which traumatizes the collective, and a second, which covers over the first and consolidates an violent and violated melancholy from which the group cannot escape.”  Next on my reading list is Paolo Javier’s The Feeling is Actual.  I witnessed Paolo’s live film narration of “Monty and Turtle,” on the Feminism Meets Neo-Benshi: Movietelling Talks Back panel at AWP recently, which explores the story of an Asian American artist couple, and loved what I saw!  After some discussion about the question about appropriation within neo/benshi practice, Paolo said that he dealt with this question by creating his own film clips to narrate to.  Though the film clips aren’t part of the book, his script is published in this book.

From Desmond Kon:

For a lecture I’m giving, I’m rereading Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, edited by Timothy Liu and published by Talisman House in 2000. In my research, I discovered Liu’s lovely essay titled, “Making the Case for Asian-American Poetry”, on Poets.org. I also just received Iris A. Law’s chapbook of wildly intelligent poems: Periodicity. These are lyric gems, some persona poems, that thread the imagined voices of great women scientists like Marie Curie, Rachel Carson and Anna Atkins. Finally, to throw in some fiction, I’m reading Tash Aw’s newest novel, Five Star Billionaire. The book intertwines the lives of migrant Malaysian workers, trying to eke out a living in Shanghai – this “Paris of the East” is at once bright lights and dog-eat-dog. In fact, Tash Aw is doing a reading at this awesome and intimate bookstore BooksActually, and I’m really looking forward to hearing him talk about the writing of his novel.

Our National Poetry Month giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, April 22nd. Winners will be announced the following week. Many thanks to our partners, Kaya Press and AALR, for their generous sponsorship, as well as to LR staff writer Henry Leung for donating a copy of his chapbook. We look forward to hearing from you, and hope that the comments that others leave in this thread will inspire you to read more Asian American poetry this April!

Best,

Iris & Mia

Weekly Prompt: Tamiko’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Contest 1st Place Winner!)

This week, we’re featuring the prompt submitted by the grand prize winner of our National Poetry Month Prompt Contest (sponsored by Kaya Press) . . .

(::drumroll::)

Tamiko Beyer!

We loved the freshness of Tamiko’s exercise, and the way that it challenges the writer to combine the particular vocabulary of one activity with the extremely close, almost manic, focus, of an “obsession.”  As poets, we all have obsessions to which we find ourselves returning again and again, and Tamiko’s prompt provides a great way to step out of the boxes we draw for ourselves in order to approach a familiar topic from a new angle.

Prompt: Obsession

  • First, make a list of your obsessions – the topics you find yourself writing or thinking about again and again.
  • Now, think of a specific thing that you know how to do well – knitting, rock climbing, photoshop, fixing cars, etc. Make a list of as many words specific to that activity – the specialized vocabulary of it – that you can think of.
  • Finally, choose one of your obsessions (not related to the activity you chose) and write a poem about it, incorporating as many words from the second list as you can.

Tamiko will receive a copy of Lisa Chen’s Mouth, courtesy of the folks at Kaya Press. Congratulations, Tamiko, and thanks once again to all who submitted!

Signing off for this National Poetry Month,

Iris & Mia

Weekly Prompt: Aaron’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Prompt Contest Runner-Up)

This week, we’re featuring the prompt submitted by LR reader Aaron Geiger, whom we’ve chosen as the first runner-up in our National Poetry Month Prompt Contest (sponsored by Kaya Press).  We really enjoyed the genre-bending nature of this exercise and thought it was a fun and unusual approach to the challenge of writing narrative poetry.

Prompt:

Find one of your favorite short stories or essays; perhaps even one you might have written. Make sure it is a story that you know, or that you are going to read thoroughly. Deconstruct the elements of the story into a form suitable for a poem that is no longer than 20 lines.

Rules: you must maintain one of the plot devices, and you can only use words that appear in the story. The purpose here is to show how dense and vibrant poems are, and how much they can  convey with a few carefully chosen words. Can you recontruct the “essence” of a short story or essay in a poem?

Thanks once again to all who submitted, and congratulations, Aaron!

Happy Good Friday, and (early) Easter, to those who are celebrating this weekend.  We’ll see you on the other side of Monday morning.

Weekly Prompt: Chris’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Prompt Contest Runner-Up)

This week’s prompt features the idea submitted by LR reader Chris, whom we’ve chosen as the second runner-up in our National Poetry Month Prompt Contest (sponsored by Kaya Press).

Chris’s prompt was short, but we felt that it aroused a number of interesting possibilities.  It made me, in particular, think of the “beautiful witch” archetype that’s present in so many myths, legends, fairytales, and folklore (from the Greek sirens to Snow White’s stepmother)  and which is often sinisterly underwritten by the deep-seated fears of people in power (men, whites, imperialists, US ‘nativists’, etc.) about those who are ‘under’ them (women, racial or political minorities, colonized and indigenous peoples, immigrants, etc.).  In some cases, especially under colonial rule (and here I am thinking particularly of the line of questioning that Barbara Jane Reyes explores in her books Poeta en San Francisco and Diwata), culturally powerful local figures have been forcibly re-coded as demons, monsters, exiles by imperial powers. How the faces of those obscured behind such imposed masks of monstrosity might be reclaimed, even amidst the violence cast upon them by history, is something with which many writers of color, women writers of color, immigrants and descendents of immigrants, colonized peoples and descendents of colonized peoples, must wrestle on a daily basis.  Chris’s prompt thus resonates with me in the sense that it asks us to explore the possibility of celebration,  even from within (and, in fact, despite) a position in which individual identity has been marginalized by culturally- or socially-imposed images of monstrosity.

Prompt:

Take something that (or someone who) is frightening and write a poem about why it (or he or she) is beautiful.

If you’d like to investigate the approach I’ve described above a little further, here are a few books that deal with rehabilitating the voices of figures who carry the weight of  “monstrosity” in some way :

Poeta en San Francisco (Barbara Jane Reyes, Tinfish 2006)
Diwata
(Barbara Jane Reyes, BOA 2010)
Habeas Corpus
(Jill McDonough, Salt 2008)
Brutal Imagination
(Cornelius Eady, Putnam 2001)

(Know of more collections that we should add to this list?  We’d love to hear your recommendations; please let us know about them in the comments!)

Congratulations to Chris, and thank you once again to all who submitted!  Stop by next week to see who we’ve chosen as our first runner up.

Weekly Prompt: Janet’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Prompt Contest Runner-Up)

Thank you to all those who submitted prompts to our National Poetry Month contest!  We’ve chosen three runners-up and one winner, and will be announcing them week by week as we post the ideas that they submitted.

This week, we’re featuring, as one of our runners-up, a prompt derived from an idea that was submitted by LR reader Janet.  We were intrigued by Janet’s entry, an exercise which involved plugging elements of one’s memory of a childhood meal into the form of a recipe, and have elaborated upon and expanded that idea slightly to produce this week’s prompt.  (The text of Janet’s original exercise can be found here).

Prompt:

Write a poem that recalls the recipe for a meal from childhood or which uses such a recipe to frame your memory of that meal. Be sure to include, besides the actual ingredients that went into that recipe, descriptions of more intangible elements, such as the people, the place and emotions that were present when you ate that meal.

Congratulations to Janet, and thanks again to everyone who entered our contest.

Please check back again next Friday to see a prompt from our next runner-up!

Announcing Our 2011 National Poetry Month Prompt Contest

In anticipation of National Poetry Month this April, the LR Blog is once again going to be holding a prompt contest.  This year, we are pleased to partner with the generous folks at Kaya Press, a unique small press that focuses on cutting-edge work by Asian diasporic writers.  Just as with last year’s contest, the top four prompts that we select (three runners-up and one first-place winner) will be featured on the LR Blog on the Fridays of each full week in April, beginning on the 8th.  The winners will be announced in reverse order, beginning with the third runner-up and ending with the first-place winner.  This year’s grand prize (courtesy of Kaya’s sponsorship) is a copy of Lisa Chen‘s Mouth, which our staff blogger Henry will be reviewing later this spring.

Here’s how it will work:

1) Leave a comment on this post that includes the text of your prompt.  Entries must be posted by 11:59PM EST on Thursday, March 31st. Comments on this post will close after that time. Please leave some form of basic contact information in your comment (preferably an email address), so that we can get in touch with you if you win.

2) During the first full week of April, we’ll be choosing the four prompts that we like best.  The winner and all three runners up will have their entries featured as Weekly Prompts on the LR Blog during the four Fridays from April 8th – 29th.  In addition, the winner will also receive a special grand prize that has been graciously offered  by Kaya Press: a copy of Lisa Chen’s Mouth. We will announce the runners up and winner week by week, starting with the third runner-up and culminating with the winner, so keep on checking back in April to see if your entry has been featured.

3) A few ground rules: You may only enter once. Please submit only poetry prompts.  Keep all prompts appropriate: anything of a bigoted, demeaning, or nasty nature will not be considered; we’d also appreciate it if you could please try to keep your prompts somewhat PG in nature, as when choosing prompts we always try to look for flexible exercises that can be adapted for use with either adults or kids.

That’s it!  We look forward to reading your entries.  And while you’re at it, please do take a moment to check out Mouth or of the other titles on Kaya’s web site.  Many thanks to Publisher Sunyoung Lee, Lisa Chen, and Kaya Press for their generosity.

Weekly Prompt: Kenji’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Prompt Contest Winner!)

Congratulations to Kenji, the winner of our 2010 National Poetry Month Prompt Contest!

Here’s a slightly paraphrased version of his winning prompt.

Writes Kenji: “This one is not mine originally, but it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever tried. It comes by way of poet Suheir Hammad.”

Prompt:

Close your eyes and think about a time in your life that was extremely difficult.  Imagine the scene in as much detail as possible. Now, holding that moment of difficulty in your mind, search the scene and find one aspect of the situation or your environment that was beautiful. It could be environment and sensory – a sound, color, texture, lighting – or it could be an insight, perspective or emotion that existed at the same time as the difficulty.

Write about that beautiful aspect of this scene of difficulty for 15 minutes.

* * *

We liked the creative possibilities of the paradoxical tension that this prompt asks the writer to explore: not beauty in spite of difficulty, nor a romanticized celebration of difficulty, but the strangeness by which a moment of difficulty can take on aspects of the beautiful.  Exploring this sort of tension in a poem may have the potential to open up an image or brief narrative moment to strange, surprising, and ever more complex associations.

Kenji will be receiving a signed copy of Monica Youn’s Ignatz.  Congratulations to him, and many thanks to all who participated!

Weekly Prompt: Steph’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Contest 1st Runner-Up)

This week prompt is from Steph, the reader whose prompt we’ve chosen as the 1st runner-up in our National Poetry Month Contest:

Prompt: Find a childhood toy and write about the first memory that comes to mind. Also consider the toy’s colors, textures, heft, etc.

We thought this was an interesting take on the exercise of writing about an object as a memorial trigger (I’ve done this before with vegetables and with household items like hangers and lightbulbs, but never with toys, which have a peculiar relationship to memory as both mute witness to and the subject/object of memory).  There are so many ways that you could spin it: a textural list poem, a persona poem, an ode, a poem in the form of an advertisement, an epistolary poem, etc.

Many congratulations to Steph!  Please check back next Friday when we reveal our first place winner and the recipient of a signed copy of Ignatz.

Weekly Prompt: YW’s Prompt (National Poetry Month Contest 2nd Runner-Up)

This week’s prompt comes from LR reader “YW,” whose submission to our National Poetry Month Contest we’ve chosen as our second runner-up.

Prompt: Rewrite a fairy tale in verse from a different character’s perspective (e.g. the witch in Hansel and Gretel).

We were intrigued by this persona poem exercise, and thought that it might be interesting to consider in conversation with Louise Glück’s haunting take on Hansel and Gretel, “Gretel in Darkness.”  Here’s an excerpt of the poem to get you thinking (the rest can be found on the Poetry Foundation’s web site):

Gretel in Darkness

by Louise Glück

This is the world we wanted.
All who would have seen us dead
are dead. I hear the witch’s cry
break in the moonlight through a sheet
of sugar: God rewards.
Her tongue shrivels into gas. . . .
Now, far from women’s arms
and memory of women, in our father’s hut
we sleep, are never hungry.
Why do I not forget?
My father bars the door, bars harm
from this house, and it is years.”

Congratulations to YW, and happy Friday to all!  Look out for the prompt from our first runner-up next week.