Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series! We have asked Lantern Review contributors from Issues 1 and 2 to share with us what they are reading this summer, and will be featuring their responses weekly throughout the months of July and August. This first installment features a set of reads from Issue 1 contributor Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé.
I just finished a talk at The Asian Festival of Children’s Content, where I spoke on how literary greats like Rudyard Kipling and Robert Graves actually wrote poems specifically for children, while honing their own craft. Really relished reading poems like Walter de la Mare’s “The Listeners”, Eliot’s “Song of the Jellicles”, Leonard Clark’s “Mushrooms”, Seamus Heaney’s “Trout”, and Tolkien’s “The Mewlips”, among others. It was wonderful researching on the subject matter. All of a sudden, I felt my own poetry distilling itself, paring down its language to become more accessible, a strange distancing from my love for compression and heavy metaphorical constructs. Helps me remain in a more contemplative space, which I welcomed. So, I’ve found myself loving some books that afford this beautiful transparent quality, mixed in with my favorite experimental fare. I also have a commissioned article coming up – a reflective piece on the interdisciplinary art I do – for The British Council’s Writing the City Project, in which I serve on their writing panel as a contest judge. So, I’m already working through some heavy critical, theoretical material, like the books by Hagberg, Brown, and Genette. And to make happy my love for all things graphic and visual, I’ve got a whole list of great chapbooks from Dan Waber. I’ll be taking some of these with me on the plane, on the coach when I travel, which will make all that waiting time disappear. These will definitely take me past the summer into the new year, and I’ll lap up every moment of it!
For our Summer Reads series, we’ve asked contributors from Issue 1 to share what they’ve been reading or plan to read this summer. This installment features a list from Singaporean poet & ceramist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé.
“Here’s my list (some books have arrived and others I’m requisitioning from the national library here) but these are the ones I’ve been excited about (there are others but they’ll have to wait for next year or something):
Here’s my list (some books have arrived and others I’m requisitioning from the national library here) but these are the ones I’ve been excited about (there are others but they’ll have to wait for next year or something):
Power & Possibility: Essays, Reviews and Interviews (by Elizabeth Alexander)
Islamic Ceramics (by James W. Allan)
The Gate of Horn (by L. S. Asekoff)
Planisphere (by John Ashbery)
This Lamentable City (by Polina Barskova)
These Extremes (by Richard Bausch)
I Was the Jukebox (by Sandra Beasley)
The Collectors (by Matt Bell)
Approaching Ice (by Elizabeth Bradfield)
Plato’s Socrates (by Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith)
An Island of Fifty (by Ben Brooks)
Confusion: A Study in the Theory of Knowledge (by Joseph L. Camp, Jr.)
Until Before After (by Ciaran Carson)
Ceramic Materials: Science and Engineering (by C. Barry Carter)
One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America (by Dan Chiasson)
Pierce the Skin (by Henri Cole)
Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (by Michel de Certeau)
When All Our Days Are Numbered (by Sasha Fletcher)
For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut (by Takashi Hiraide)
The Living Fire (by Edward Hirsch)
Gender, Desire, and Sexuality in T. S. Eliot (by Cassandra Laity & Nancy K. Gish)
We Don’t Know We Don’t Know (by Nick Lantz)
Chinese Ceramics (by Stacey Pierson)
Long Lens (by Peter Makuck)
Tocqueville (by Khaled Mattawa)
The Stranger Manual (by Catie Rosemurgy)
Vinland (by Jamie Ross)
Living Must Bury (by Josie Sigler)
Postmodern Ceramics (by Mark Del Vecchio & Garth Clark)
Archicembalo (by G. C. Waldrep)
A lovely set of Mud Luscious Press chapbooks (by Eric Beeny, Matt Bell, Michael Berstein, Daniel Citro, Ryan Downey, David Gianatasio, Kuzhali Manickavel, Ben Segal)
We were recently given a heads’ up about this fascinating interview in RetortMagazine that Singaporean poet Desmond Kon conducted with Fiona Sze-Lorrain (whose book, Water the Moon, we reviewed earlier this year). [Thanks, D.K., for the link!]
Here’s an excerpt (Sze-Lorrain on place and geography in her work):
Places permeate my writing since you may say that I am someone of travels — in exile and displacement, so-called. I’ve traveled, yes, and at times, without a choice, but I am never a tourist. Pierre Nora sees places as sites of memories; I see places as moments and years. I thought that writing about places as memories risks falling into the trap of flat sentimentalism, or a re-invention of the past. Unlike most artists in exile who eschew geographical precision, I look towards the porosity of borders — both physical and temporal — for inspiration. Otherwise, places are no different from identities, and any kind of identity will never fail to imprison souls.
To read the rest of the interview, click here. Also worth checking out is the latest issue of Cerise Press, a magazine that Sze-Lorrain creates and edits with Karen Rigby and Sally Molini. It’s an intriguing space that beautifully mixes translation, art, and lyric — and is well worth the read.