Summer Reads: Kimberly Alidio’s Birthday Reading List

Welcome to the 2012 edition of our Summer Reads blog series, in which past Lantern Review contributors give us a peek at what’s on their reading lists for the current summer season. This year, we decided to change things up a bit: instead of posting longer lists as we have in the past, we’ve asked our contributors to select the top three titles that they’re excited about this season and to write in about them. Throughout July and August, we’ll be sharing the Top Three lists that they’ve sent us on the blog.

This week’s Top Three comes from Issue 2 contributor Kimberly Alidio, who wrote us the following note on her birthday (July 9th):

July 9, 2012

Hello LR!

Thank you again for the invitation to share my summer reading list.

I just finished Scott Morgensen’s Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), which demonstrates that neither scholarly questions nor queer decolonizing politics have to be “special interest” matters but instead good tools for anyone who seeks justice. Generous, thoughtful writing makes all the difference. Reading this helped me finish a research essay just last Friday.

Yesterday, I went to the Lucian Freud retrospective at the Fort Worth Modern and meditated quite a while with the textures of each face and figure. Maybe some ekphrastic poems will arise alongside Sarah Howgate, Lucian Freud Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, 2012). The huge exhibition catalog was a really necessary splurge since no photography was allowed in the huge exhibit, and I’m an obedient museum-goer. Less Instagram posts, more books!

Today is my birthday and my brother got me what I asked for: Cecilia Vicuña’s Saborami (Chainlinks, 2011), a book of daily poetry and object-making in response to military dictatorship first published in 1973 Chile. A good practice for us today.

Til next year — wishing you joy and ease —

Kimberly

Many happy returns, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing your list with us.

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For more, read Kimberly’s poem “translation” in Lantern Review, Issue 2.

What have you been reading this summer? Leave us a comment or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter to let us know.

Process Profile: Purvi Shah Discusses “Some didn’t make it. Some did.” and “This is MY NY.”

Purvi Shah at "Together We Are New York" (Photo by Preston Merchant)
Purvi Shah at "Together We Are New York" (Photo by Preston Merchant)

Purvi Shah’s Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press, 2006), which explores migration as potential and loss, won the Many Voices Project prize and was nominated for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Members’ Choice Award. Her work fighting violence against women earned her the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Services Award in 2008. In 2011, she served as Artistic Director for Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight the voices of Asian Americans during the 10th anniversary of 9/11. She believes in the miracle of poetry and the beauty of change. Check out more of her work at http://purvipoets.net or @PurviPoets on Twitter.

For APIA Heritage Month 2012, we are revisiting our Process Profile series, in which contemporary Asian American poets discuss their craft, focusing on their process for a poem (or group of poems) from inception to publication. As in the past, we’ve asked several Lantern Review contributors to discuss their process for composing a poem of theirs that we’ve published. In this installment, Purvi Shah discusses her poems, “’Some didn’t make it. Some did.’” and “’This is MY NY.’”, which appeared in Issue 4.

Some say this is woman’s territory: to know what is unspoken in the midst of what is spoken.

It is also territory of the poet, who in lyric enacts what is said, what we fear to say, and yet what we must make known without it ever being said.

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Conversation 6: Split This Rock

We were asked, when dialoguing after sharing excerpts of Together We Are New Yorka community-based project with Kundiman poets honoring the voices of Asian Americans as part of the 10th anniversary of 9/11whether it was difficult to write poems in response to conversations with community members. After all, to capture an individual’s story or fullness of experience is a mighty task. Even many biographers fail. So how does a poet approach someone’s horizon?

Zohra Saed, who had interviewed her charming father for the project, astutely responded how she realized in the process of this writing that her poems had always been in conversationpreviously, she had just been talking to herself. As the audience chuckled, I marveled at the truth of Zohra’s humor-filled revelation and thought about the layers of conversation embedded in my poems, including these I had written for Together We Are New York.

We often think about the buzz poems create but not the buzz that creates poems. Then again, flightor fallis rarely one way.

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Continue reading “Process Profile: Purvi Shah Discusses “Some didn’t make it. Some did.” and “This is MY NY.””

Process Profile: Margaret Rhee Discusses “Materials”

Martha Kenney, Amy Shen, Margaret Rhee, Jennifer Beth and Tania Pérez-Bustos

Margaret Rhee is the author of the chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and University Dreams (Forthcoming 2012). She is the managing editor of Mixed Blood, a literary journal centered on race and innovative poetics edited by C.S. Giscombe. In April, she curated the literary reading, “Body Maps: A Digital/Real Asian American Feminist Poetics” for the Asian American Women Artists Association. As a new media artist, she works on feminist participatory digital storytelling supporting issues of HIV/AIDS awareness for women incarcerated in the San Francisco Jail. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies and New Media Studies at UC Berkeley. She is a Kundiman fellow. 

For APIA Heritage Month 2012, we are revisiting our Process Profile series, in which contemporary Asian American poets discuss their craft, focusing on their process for a single poem from inception to publication. As in the past, we’ve asked several Lantern Review contributors to discuss their process for composing a poem of theirs that we’ve published. In this installment, Margaret Rhee reflects upon her new media piece “Materials,” which appeared in Issue 4.
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It begins with a drive.  The road up to Santa Cruz from Berkeley is a winding one. Largely known as one of the most dangerous highways in the state, Highway 17 wraps around the Santa Cruz Mountains with sharp pretzel turns and dense traffic on weekday afternoons.  It’s my first trip to Santa Cruz.  And I am driving a big, used silver Volvo station wagon, one bought just a few weeks before. My dear friend and colleague Kate Darling is in the passenger seat helping with Mapquest directions.  We finally arrive safely at our destination, the first ever Science Studies creative writing workshop, organized by Martha Kenney and held at the University of Santa Cruz.

Soon after arriving at the workshop space, we found ourselves having lunch with much admired feminist scholar Donna Harraway.  It was beyond lovely.  Kate and I shared about our drive up.  Donna joked that people in Santa Cruz often say that the road keeps those they don’t want out of Santa Cruz!  In between bites of salad I laughed, not only because this was funny, but because it was probably true.  I laughed out of relief as well, not believing we actually made it up that long winding road.

Our assignment prior to the workshop was to write a creative piece inspired by our scholarship. I was thrilled by the possibility of combining, intersecting, and interweaving theoretical questions I had with poetry/poetic form.  At lunch I wondered what the feedback process would be like for the cross-genre works written for the prompt.

I’m a doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies and New Media Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and my interests includes the intersections of science, technology, and race.  But I’m also a poet and new media artist with similar concerns.  I like intersections, interventions, and mutations.

Continue reading “Process Profile: Margaret Rhee Discusses “Materials””

Process Profile: Tarfia Faizullah Discusses “At Zahra’s Salon for Ladies”

Tarfia Faizullah (Photo by Amanda Abel)
Tarfia Faizullah (Photo by Amanda Abel)

Tarfia Faizullah’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, New Ohio Review, Passages North, Poetry Daily, Crab Orchard Review, Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she received her MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as the associate editor of Blackbird. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Writers Conference Margaret Bridgman Scholarship, a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Peter Taylor Fellowship, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and other honors. She lives in Washington, DC, where she helps edit the Asian American Literary Review and Trans-Portal.

For APIA Heritage Month 2012, we are revisiting our Process Profile series, in which contemporary Asian American poets discuss their craft, focusing on their process for a single poem from inception to publication. As in the past, we’ve asked several Lantern Review contributors to discuss their process for composing a poem of theirs that we’ve published. In this installment, Tarfia Faizullah reflects upon her poem “At Zahra’s Salon for Ladies,” which appeared in Issue 4.

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  1. It actually did begin at Zahra’s Salon, with my head tilted back.
  2. Auntie Neelam and I never spoke, though she has always been gentle with me and I have never gone to another stylist.
  3. That day at the salon, Ghulam Ali’s song Chupke, Chupke began to play.
  4. It had been many, many summers since I had last heard that song.
  5. My younger self rose up.
  6. I went home and began to try to affix the atmosphere of the salon, the deft, elegant movements of Auntie Neelam’s fingers.
  7. I listened to Chupke, Chupke over and over again.
  8. I called my mother, cradled the phone against my shoulder to take notes while she translated Chupke, Chupke for me.
  9. I began to remember that other, younger summer.
  10. The summer I had started growing out of my swimsuit.
  11. How bewildered I was, how frightened by all that dark hair shadowing across me.
  12.  “I can feel that other day running underneath this one,” Anne Carson wrote, and similarly, I strongly felt the summer of my youth below that present one.
  13.  As adults, we take for granted the agency we have to strip our bodies of their darkness.
  14. The poem has always been in second person. It had to be so that I could clearly see both my younger and adult selves as I was addressing them.
  15. “At Zahra’s Salon” took me two years to write.
  16. I am interested in the possibilities of collage, of braiding together multiple elements.
  17. I love David Shields’s assertion of collage as “a demonstration of the many becoming the one, with the one never fully resolved because of the many that continue to impinge on it.”
  18. It took two years to try to weave together the salon, the song, and those other summers while ensuring each element remained singular and intact.
  19. One day, I asked Auntie Neelam about her life.
  20. She was born and raised in India, and is married and has a child.
  21. I think she was as startled as I was.
  22. She started telling me about her wedding day.
  23. I remembered my own wedding, the way my body was purified, decorated, posed.
  24. She gave me a mishti.
  25. I left the salon, my face smarting.
  26. One of the red brick walls was covered in clematis vine.
  27. The sky was so blue.
  28. I wanted to write a poem that could dwell in nostalgia, that could dwell in those first feelings of hunger without fully leaving the present.
  29. I wanted to write a poem that acknowledged the beauty and terror of solitude.
  30. Don’t we all long for a lifetime of sweetness?

Process Profile: Andre Yang Discusses “Why I Feel the Way I Do About SB 1070”

Andre Yang | Photo by Mary Yang

Andre Yang is a Hmong American poet from Fresno, California. He is a founding member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle (HAWC), where he actively conducts and participates in public writing workshops. He completed the Creative Writing (Poetry) MFA program at California State University, Fresno, where he was a Philip Levine Scholar, recipient of the Academy of American Poets-sponsored Ernesto Trejo Prize, and the Graduate Dean’s Medalist of the College of Arts and Humanities.  Andre is a Kundiman Asian American Poetry Fellow, and has attended the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and recently completed an artist residency at the Ucross Foundation.  He co-edited How Do I Begin – A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday, 2011), and his poetry has appeared in Paj Ntaub Voice, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and the chapbook anthology ‘Here is a Pen’ (Achiote Press).

For APIA Heritage Month 2012, we are revisiting our Process Profile series, in which contemporary Asian American poets discuss their craft, focusing on their process for a single poem from inception to publication. This year, we’ve asked several Lantern Review contributors to discuss their process for composing a poem that we’ve published. In this installment, Andre Yang discusses his poem “Why I Feel the Way I Do About SB 1070,” which appeared in Issue 3 of Lantern Review.

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In a way, I have been writing this poem all my life, and considering all the things I discuss in the poem, it really does span my life.  The poem was written to express my feelings about the inception and implementation Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, though I also wanted it to capture my thoughts on the interconnectedness of humanity.

I might not have written “Why I Feel The Way I Do About SB 1070” had I not met Francisco Xavier Alarcón at his Ce Uno One book launch in Sacramento, California.   I overheard Francisco saying he was attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference later that year in Washington D.C. (2011), and since I too was planning to attend the conference, I used that as a conversation starter and approached him.  He mentioned that while in D.C., he would be organizing two off-site Floricanto readings based on his Facebook page, “Poets Responding to SB 1070,” and that well-established poets like Martín Espada would be taking part in the reading.  Five minutes into the conversation, he asked, to my complete surprise, if I wanted to participate in the readings. I said I’d be honored, and told him I’d contact him when I felt I had a poem worthy of the purpose.

Continue reading “Process Profile: Andre Yang Discusses “Why I Feel the Way I Do About SB 1070””

Process Profile: Vikas K. Menon Discusses “Othertongue”

Vikas K. Menon

Vikas K. Menon is a poet and playwright whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as burntdistrict, diode, and The Literary Review, among others.  His poetry manuscript godflesh was a finalist for the 2010 Kinereth Gensler Award and a semifinalist for the Beatrice Hawley award, both from Alice James Books.   His poetry has been featured in Indivisible:  An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry and is forthcoming in The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Indians.  He is a board member of Kundiman, the first organization of its kind dedicated to supporting Asian-American poetry and is the Resident Playwright of Ruffled Feathers Theater company. 

For APIA Heritage Month 2012, we are revisiting our Process Profile series, in which contemporary Asian American poets discuss their craft, focusing on their process for a single poem from inception to publication. This year, we’ve asked several Lantern Review contributors to discuss their process for composing a poem that we’ve published. In this installment, Vikas K. Menon discusses his poem “Othertongue,” which appeared in Issue 3 of Lantern Review.

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My writing process is both fitful and fickle:  at the beginning of a writing session, I tend to move quickly among drafts to see which pieces pull me into further play.  This method has allowed me to elude the blocks that used to plague my writing life.  “Other Tongue” started in quick sketches; in this case, with a freewrite about my struggles with my parents’ ancestral tongue, Malayalam.  Malayalam is a Dravidian language that is outside of the Indo-European family of languages, and it is primarily spoken in the South Indian state of Kerala.  While I can comprehend Malayalam when it is spoken colloquially, I am otherwise illiterate in the language.  Since it was the language of intimacy used by my elders during my childhood, I am ashamed by my inability to speak it fluently.  But I can still revel in its aural pleasures and rolling cadences, its stark contrasts with English.  So I began writing into the texture of it, exploring the strangeness of its syllables in my mouth.  At the same time, I was working on a separate poem that explored my mother’s English, which is heavily inflected by Malayalam.  Finally, I realized that the two poems were linked by their exploration of the difficulties of articulation.  Despite that theme, paradoxically, the poem works quite well at readings: there is initial laughter at my mother’s malapropism that quickly turns to silent discomfort.  I like that sudden turn, something the poet and performer Regie Cabico does beautifully.

LR News: Happy National Poetry Month!

PB 1 - Vanni Taing
Pocket Broadside #1 - Vanni Taing

April is National Poetry Month, and as usual, we are celebrating it on the LR Blog with two new special projects.

Digital Broadsides for National Poetry Month

Whereas in the past, we’ve run a prompt contest during April, this year, we’ve decided to do something a little different. Because, in our view, National Poetry Month is as much about encouraging the reading of poetry as it is about encouraging the writing of poetry, we wanted to produce a project that would enable the sharing of  Asian American poetry beyond the confines of our magazine and blog.  To that end, we’re thrilled to be able to announce our very first series of Digital Broadsides.  Every Friday during the month of April, in lieu of  a regular prompt, we’ll be offering a free, downloadable broadside featuring a poem that’s appeared in a past issue of LR.  Each broadside has been designed by a different Asian American artist (most of whom are also poets and LR contributors), and will be offered in two different formats: as a desktop wallpaper, which we hope will inspire you to write each time you open your computer,  and as an 8.5 x 11 printable .PDF, which we hope you’ll print out, post, and share.  You can look out for the first of the series—featuring poet/artist Debbie Yee‘s design for R.A. Villanueva’s poem “Vanitas” (from Issue 4)—this Friday, when we’ll release it on the blog.

Pocket Broadsides on Tumblr

The Pocket Broadsides project (about which I wrote extensively in my AWP reflection post) is now on Tumblr!  Since many of the Pocket Broadsides are miniature poems, we thought that April would be the perfect time to launch an online archive of the project. Starting today, we will be posting images of up to two pieces a week—of both the Pocket Broadsides we brought to AWP (in serial order), and the visitor-written pieces that we received in exchange.  The series kicks off with Pocket Broadside #1, a short poem by LR Issue 1 contributor, Vanni Taing.  At least through the month of April, we’ll be posting notices on the LR blog each time we post a new poem to Tumblr, but to read each Pocket Broadside as soon as it’s released, please add pocketbroadsides.tumblr.com to your list of RSS subscriptions. If you’re on Tumblr yourself, please follow us and re-post!

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That’s all of our special announcements for April.  We hope you’ll join us in helping to spread the word about Asian American poetry this month—both through the Digital Broadsides and by linking to and re-posting the Pocket Broadsides as they appear on Tumblr.

Do you have any special celebrations or project planned for National Poetry Month?  We’d love to hear about them.  Drop us a line in the comments or via e-mail.  If we like your project and you’re documenting it online, we’ll link to it on Facebook or Twitter, and maybe even post about it here!

Friends & Neighbors: Rounding Out 2011

Here are a few exciting tidbits of news from the LR community to round out our last day of posts before hiatus (which takes effect tonight, along with the submissions deadline for Issue 4!  Don’t forget to send your work in—the system will be open until 11:59 pm EST).

Videopoem for Kenji C. Liu’s “A Son Writes Back”

LR contributor Kenji C. Liu sent us a link to this awesome video he created for his poem “A Son Writes Back” (the most recent version of which appeared in Issue 2). The video combines an audio performance of Kenji’s poem with musical accompaniment by Jason Jong.  According to its caption on Vimeo, the visuals in the piece are footage from “a US Air Force propaganda film portraying aerial attacks on Imperial Japan during World War II.”  Watch the embedded version below, or follow the links beneath it to watch on Vimeo.

(A Son Writes Back – Poetry by Kenji C. Liu – Kou Xiang by Jason Jong from Kenji Liu on Vimeo).

W. Todd Kaneko Featured by the Los Angeles Review

Not only does Issue 3 contributor W. Todd Kaneko’s work appear in the 10th issue of the Los Angeles Review, but the magazine recently featured his poem “Remembering Minidoka” online as one of the issue’s “highlights”!  To read the piece, click here.  Many congrats to Todd on this honor.

Bao Phi’s Sông I Sing Reviewed in the New York Times

The heading says it all: Bao Phi’s collection, which Greg Choy reviewed for us last week, has been reviewed (and highly praised), by The New York Times.  Our congratulations to Bao on these well-deserved accolades.

Melissa R. Sipin responds to Kimiko Hahn

Issue 3 contributor Melissa R. Sipin was inspired enough by Wendy’s interview with Kimiko Hahn (and by the APR interview that Wendy references) that she wrote a poem in response!  She’s shared it on her blog.  Thanks, Melissa, for your thoughtful engagement with Kimiko’s words!

Friends & Neighbors: Recent Releases

When the AAWW announced the winners of its 2011 Asian American Literary Awards last month, we were thrilled to hear that Issue 3 contributor Oliver de la Paz’s Requiem for the Orchard had been named 1st finalist in the poetry category (after Kimiko Hahn, who won for Toxic Flora, and before Molly Gaudry, who was named 2nd finalist  for We Take Me Apart).  But Oliver is not the only one of our friends and contributors who has had exciting news this season.  Here some recent publications and releases that have shown up on our radar these past few months:

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Marc Vincenz’s The Propaganda Factory (Argotist EBooks 2011)

Marc Vincenz's THE PROPAGANDA FACTORY
Marc Vincenz's THE PROPAGANDA FACTORY

Contributor Marc Vincenz’s new e-book The Propaganda Factory was released by Argotist EBooks this past August.  In this short collection (which includes “Taishan Mountain,” a poem that first appeared in LR issue 2), Marc weaves together layers of history and geography through an ever-shifting range of lenses that take us from the level of the microscopic to the realm of the galactic at a moment’s notice.  It is available for download here.

Kim Koga’s ligature strain (TinFish Press 2011)

Kim Koga's LIGATURE STRAIN
Kim Koga's LIGATURE STRAIN

Issue 3 contributor Kim Koga now has a chapbook (ligature strain) out with TinFish.  In this linked sequence, which was published as #6 in TinFish’s current retro chap series, Kim floods the page and the mind’s eye with feverish, liquidly intense imagery that involves birth, echolocation, pink and white flesh, and lots of fetal beavers (yes, the actual animal).  Be on the lookout for more about ligature strain later this month.

Continue reading “Friends & Neighbors: Recent Releases”

LR News: Best of the Net 2011 Nominees

The Lantern Review editorial board is pleased to announce that we have selected two poems to nominate for Sundress Publications’ 2011 Best of the Net Anthology. They are, in order of appearance in our magazine:

Northwest Poem” by W. Todd Kaneko

Vestige” by Michelle Peñaloza

Both poems originally appeared in Lantern Review Issue 2 (Winter 2011).

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About the Nominated Poets

W. Todd Kaneko
W. Todd Kaneko

W. Todd Kaneko is not cool enough to be a rock star, not tall enough to be a professional wrestler, and not virtuous enough to be a super-hero.* His stories and poems can be seen in Puerto Del Sol, Crab Creek Review, Fairy Tale Review, Portland Review, Southeast ReviewBlackbird, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop. He teaches in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the writer Caitlin Horrocks.

*Editorial Disclaimer: Todd’s appraisal of himself; not ours.  We think he’s a lot cooler than he admits.

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Michelle Peñazola
Michelle Peñaloza (Photo: Janna Ireland)

Michelle Peñaloza grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Nashville Review, Lantern Review, Birmingham Poetry Review and Bellingham Review, among others. She received the 2011 Women Writers’ Literary Fellowship, awarded by Oregon Literary Arts, and currently serves as director of the Kidd Tutorials at the University of Oregon.

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Congratulations to Todd and Michelle.  We are honored to be represented by such fine work, and wish each of you the best of luck in the judging process!