Summer Reads: Jai Arun Ravine & Henry W. Leung’s Top Three

Today’s installment of Summer Reads 2012 is the last of this year’s series, and a bit of a double-header. We have reads from two of our favorite LR Blog staff writers, Jai Arun Ravine and Henry W. Leung.

First, from LR contributor and book reviewer, Jai Arun Ravine:

Rachelle Cruz, Self-Portrait as Rumour and Blood (Dancing Girl Press), because it is about the aswang, a Philippine witch/vampire, and it has a bat/pterodactyl on the cover.

Javier O. Huerta, American Copia: An Immigrant Epic (Arte Publico Press), because it is about going to the grocery store and being checked out–by cashiers, cuties and INS agents.

Sarith Peou, Corpse Watching (Tinfish Press), because it is about being incarcerated and surviving the Khmer Rouge genocide, and for the amazing way it is bound.

And from LR book reviewer and “Panax Ginseng” columnist, Henry Leung:

Paper Shoes – Pavel Šrut
Between Security and Insecurity – Ivan Klima
A Prayer For Katerina Horovitzova – Arnošt Lustig

I’ve been in Prague discovering the work of incredible Czech writers. I got to hear Ema Katrovasread her prodigious translations of Šrut’s poems, which are brief and profound pieces following an everyman figure named Novak; and I got to hear Klima read a very insightful essay from his collection, about consumerism’s impact on religion and spiritualism today. Lustig, I’ve been told, was dedicated to the teaching of writing through fables; he was a Holocaust survivor (one of his titles, Transport From Paradise, is a heartbreaking reference to the way that the concentration camp at Terezín was paradise compared to the others), and an enormously important writer during the Velvet Revolution (along with Klima, Kundera, et al); he just passed away last year.

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For more, read Jai’s “dern, 1” and “dern, 2” in Lantern Review, Issue 1, as well as Henry’s “Question for a Painter.”

To see the rest of this series (and find out what else our contributors have been reading this summer), click here.

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

Summer Reads: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé’s Top Three

Today’s installment in our 2012 Summer Reads series comes from Issue 1 contributor Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. He says:
I’m all over the place with this summer’s selections. Hughes gives me a great lens into the lives of Whitman, Capote and Styron, against the gritty backdrop of Brooklyn. Pavel’s lovely memoir, translated from the Czech, is just altogether charming! The third title helps me understand the ruba’i, a two-lined Persian poetic form, with each line split evenly into two hemistitchs. The ruba’i is also known as “taraneh”, meaning “snatch”. This will satisfy my sporadic return to more formalist sensibilities.

 By Evan Hughes, published by Henry Holt and Company

By Ota Pavel, published by Penguin Books

Translated by Peter Avery & John Heath-Stubbs, published by Penguin Classics

Many thanks to Desmond for sharing these titles!

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For more, read Desmond’s “first falling, to get here, ferric by foot” and “: craquelure at the interiors :” in Lantern Review, Issue 1.

To see the rest of this series (and find out what else our contributors have been reading this summer), click here.

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

Summer Reads: Maria Allocco’s Top Three

This week’s list comes from Issue 1 contributor Maria Allocco, who writes that the three titles she’s most excited about this summer, “in order of digestion,” are:

Shamanism As A Spiritual Practice for Daily Life
By Tom Cowan (Random House)

In my quest to meet my Guides and power animals, I plan on using this as a guide. As I have been in San Francisco now for almost a decade, I may fully initiate myself by buying a bongo.

Beneath The Lion’s Gaze
By Maaza Mengiste (Norton)

Maaza read an excerpt at a VONA reading in Berkeley last week, and I started her book over a badass organic burrito that night.

A Course in Astral Travel and Dreams
By Beelzebub

Lucid dreaming was one of my favorite nighttime activities in college. Now I hope to journey again, sans the 25 page paper interruptions.

Many thanks to Maria for sharing her list with us!

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For more, read Maria’s poem, “Downstairs,” in Lantern Review, Issue 1.

To see the rest of this series (and find out what else our contributors have been reading this summer), click here.

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

Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Rachelle Cruz

Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series!  Throughout the summer, we will be featuring recommended reading lists submitted by Lantern Review contributors who want to share titles they plan to read and want to suggest to the wider LR community.  This week features a set of reads from LR Issue 1 contributor Rachelle Cruz.

She writes:

I am so lucky to host a poetics radio program (The Blood-Jet Writing Hour) because it allows me to invite poets I am curious about and/or admire.  Although I feature poets of many different backgrounds, I seek to support and promote poetries of the Pacific Islands, Asia and their diasporas.  Summer is also the time for me to catch up on some fantastic Young Adult (YA) literature, poetry blogs/websites, and anthologies (hello, Norton!).

Below is just a small selection from my very long Summer 2011 Reading List.

Books:

*FROM UNINCORPORATED TERRITORY [SAINA] by Craig Santos Perez
(Omnidawn, 2010)

Innovative, intertextual poetry that disrupts, navigates and de-navigates the histories of Guam (Guahan). I’ve just finished FROM UNINCORPORATED TERRITORY [HACHA] and I am excited to start Perez’s second book.

 

*BOUGH BREAKS
by Tamiko Beyer
(Meritage Press, 2011)

A fellow Kundiman poet who was also featured in LANTERN REVIEW! Her book seeks to interrogate queer motherhood, gender and the politics of adoption. Tamiko will be on the show with another Kundi, Hossannah Asuncion…

Continue reading “Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Rachelle Cruz”

Friends & Neighbors: Maria Allocco in the 2011 IWL Anthology

Click to read CHICKEN SKIN AND IMPOSSIBLE TREES

We’ve just received word that Chicken Skin and Impossible Trees, the Kearny Street Workshop/Intersection for the Arts’ 2011 Intergenerational Writers Lab Online Anthology—featuring the work of LR Issue 1 contributor Maria T. Allocco and twelve other writers—is now available online.  Click here to read Maria’s contributions, or on the image below to check out this beautiful annual publication (it’s also worth noting that Issue 2 contributor Kenji C. Liu’s work appeared in the 2009 edition).  Congrats, Maria!

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Maria T. Allocco’s poem “Downstairs” appeared in Issue 1 of Lantern Review.

Process Profile: Barbara Jane Reyes Discusses “13. Black Jesus” [from “The City That Nearly Broke Me”]

Barbara Jane Reyes

Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), recently noted as a finalist for the California Book Award. She was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003) and Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. She is co-editor with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, of Doveglion Press, and an adjunct professor in Philippine Studies at University of San Francisco.

For APIA Heritage Month 2011, 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 been asking several Lantern Review contributors whose work gestures back toward history or legacy to discuss their process for composing a poem of theirs that we’ve published. In this installment, Barbara Jane Reyes discusses her piece “13. Black Jesus” [an excerpt of her longer project “The City That Nearly Broke Me”], which appeared in Issue 1 of Lantern Review.

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I love my Black Jesus persona.

He emerged in my “For the City That Nearly Broke Me” series, which I started writing after this prompt: “Write about the city that saved you. Write about one that nearly broke you.” Rachelle Cruz posted this prompt on her blog while she was a PEN Emerging Voices fellow.

I’ve never excavated Manila, my birthplace; it eludes my understanding, it’s always spitting me out. That’s how I see it, and so I wanted to find a thwart-proof way in.

I’ve spoken on Black Jesus and the galleon trade at Jacket2, in an interview conducted by Craig Santos Perez.

There is a general disdain Filipinos have for dark skin; we claim those precious few drops of Spanish blood. In this desire for whiteness, it’s ignored that much Spanish blood entered the Filipino via colonial rape.

The term “Buffalo Solider” has been around since the 1860’s, and refers to US cavalry and infantry regiments of African American soldiers. There are legends about the term’s origin, but I can’t get over the historical significance of African American men as animals. Moreover, these Buffalo Soldiers fought against Native Americans in the “Indian Wars,” and against the Filipinos in the Philippine American War. People of color pitted against one another in America’s formative wars of conquest.  Some defected from the US military, became Katipunan/Philippine freedom fighters, as “posters and leaflets addressed to ‘The Colored American Soldier’ described the lynching and discrimination against Blacks in the US and discouraged them from being the instrument of their white masters’ ambitions to oppress another ‘people of color’.”

And of course, “Buffalo Soldier” is a Bob Marley song, whose form the poem borrows. It’s a narrative of transnational displacement, an anthem of survival and resistance:

And he was taken from Africa,
brought to America.
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.
Say it was a buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta.
Buffalo soldier, in the heart of America.

It’s all of these displacements and reorientations that have allowed me to start the excavation.

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Excerpt from “13. Black Jesus”

After Bob Marley

The indio who carved me   knew the drum and the heart are one.
He knew the song for hunting,   the waiting song, the calling song.
He knew the song for planting,   the song of earth’s open hand.
He knew the song for walking,   the river water song.

Buffalo Soldier,   Carabao Brother,
Stolen from the Americas,   brought to the islands,
Sharpening machete,   crouching in the jungle,
Born into slavery,   son of revolution.

From “13. Black Jesus” | Barbara Jane Reyes | Issue 1, Lantern Review | p 65.
Click here to read the poem in its entirety.

LR News: LR Contributors Selected as Winner, and Finalists, for BEST OF THE NET 2010

Asterio Enrico Gutierrez

We are delighted to announce that LR Contributor Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez’s poem, “Death poem exercise 64,” which originally appeared in Issue 1, has been selected for the 2010 Best of the Net Anthology.  Asterio’s poem was one of only twelve selected by guest judge Erin Belieu for this year’s Anthology (it appears alongside contributions from such luminaries as B.H. Fairchild and Claudia Emerson), and we are absolutely ecstatic to see his work honored in this way.

(To read Asterio’s poem in Best of the Net 2010, click here).

(To read Asterio’s poem as it originally appeared in Issue 1 of Lantern Review, click here).

Luisa A. Igloria
Subhashini Kaligotla

Congratulations are also in store for LR contributors Luisa A. Igloria and  Subhashini Kaligotla, whose respective poems  “Contingency” and “Sydney Notebook” (which were also originally published in LR Issue 1), were selected as finalists.

Many, many congratulations to Asterio, Luisa, and Subhashini, and as many thanks to the Best of the Net editors for this wonderful honor!

Be sure to check out all of the poems that appear in this year’s Best of the Net Anthology here.

 

 

Event Coverage: AWP 2011 Off-Site Reading

JoAnn Balingit
JoAnn Balingit

It’s been a little over a month now since AWP 2011 in Washington DC — and this post is more than a little overdue!  Nonetheless, here it is: our reflection on the very first gathering of Lantern Review contributors, readers, and editors.  Our off-site reading, co-hosted by Boxcar Poetry Reviewin celebration of the little online magazine,” took place on Friday, February 4th at Go Mama Go!, a lovely, eclectic art supply & gift shop (ceramics, antique soda bottles, shot glasses, bright paper umbrellas) whose owner greeted us with a warm, “Are you here for the Chinese poetry?” when we first walked into the door.  “Well… yes?” we said, though really we were there for so much more.

Rapt Audience
Friends and contributors of LANTERN REVIEW and BOXCAR POETRY REVIEW.

Realizing that a gathering of people interested in Asian American poetry could perhaps be mistaken for enthusiasts of Chinese verse, we decided that this was an appropriate place for our reading to begin: with an assumption that would, as the night progressed, be stretched and proliferated across a variety of subjects, styles, personalities, and identities.  We heard from lovers, from daughters and sons, from fighters and artists, ethnic selves, queer selves, and — at times — just plain selves confronted with the complex reality of living in the twenty-first century.

We had the pleasure of hearing seven different Lantern Review contributors, all of whom read poems published in either Issue 1 or Issue 2 alongside other pieces prepared for the event.  Though most of us had never met before, there was a wonderful camaraderie in the room — after tipping the microphone down a few inches, Issue 2 contributor Kathleen Hellen joked that, being a little-ish person, she loved little-ish poems and planned to share a few with us.

Kathleen Hellen
Kathleen Hellen

Contributor Rajiv Mohabir impressed us with his unexplained passion for whales, even pulling off his fleece to show the back of his t-shirt.  Sure enough: whale.

To be perfectly honest, in preparing for this event I had no idea what — or who, rather — to expect.  Sure, we had a list of readers and printed programs, but in curating the poems for our two issues, I’d developed certain notions of “who” our contributors were: Poet X, author of Poem Y, was surely this kind of person, or at least that’s what I thought after spending so much time with their persona on the page.  But would I be proved mistaken when I met them in real life?

Kimberly Alidio
Kimberly Alidio

Seeing the men and women “behind the issues,” however, playing the wonderful game of matching poet face to poetic voice, was a fabulous experience.  At this event, a community that had previously existed only as a textual (and virtual!) reality became, for the first time, embodied in flesh: jeans and scarves, breath and lungs and vocal chords.  Hearing these contributors’ voices for the first time, particularly when each poet read their LR piece, was phenomenal.  Personas that previously existed only as textual markings on a computer screen became live presences, embodied on stage before our very eyes.

W. Todd Kaneko
W. Todd Kaneko

This could be an overreaction — the online magazine, and indeed the publishing world itself, has been around a long time, and “meeting your editor/contributors for the first time” is terribly old news.  For us, however, newly minted and only in our second year, the event was a wonderful success.  A true celebration of the little online magazine.  We’re grateful to our contributors, particularly those who were there with us at Go Mama Go! on the 4th, and to all the other readers and writers who make this virtual and literary community a living network of flesh-and-bone people around the nation.  Thank you for your support, and for joining us in exploring the open-ended question of Asian American poetry.

LR Readers & Editors
LR Readers & Editors

Also, thanks to Iris’ foresight and inner documentary filmmaker, you can hear clips of their readings below:

Continue reading “Event Coverage: AWP 2011 Off-Site Reading”

LR News: Send in your LR Postcards!

Participate in the LR Postcard Project!

A quick update and reminder to those who either picked up an LR Postcard Project card at AWP or requested one in the mail: please don’t forget to write your response poem and send it back to us!  April 15th (the postmark deadline) is fast-approaching, and the sooner you send in your responses, the earlier we’ll be able to feature them on the blog.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns regarding how the project is meant to work, please do not hesitate to send us an email: editors [at] lanternreview (dot) com.

Looking forward to reading your postcard poems!

– Iris & Mia

LR News: The LR Postcard Project 2011

Fill-In Style Postcard for the 2011 LR Postcard Project

A warm welcome to all those who are joining us for the first time after encountering us in D.C.!  We are back from AWP, and we’re getting ready to roll once again over here on the blog.  The conference and reading went wonderfully (look out for more about our experience in our upcoming post-AWP reflection posts), and we were delighted to be able to hand out 103 postcards as part of our 2011 Postcard Project.

For those of you who are just joining us, or who didn’t catch the explanation that we posted before the conference, the LR Postcard Project is a special venture that we’ve devised in order to encourage creative responses to the poems that we’ve published so far in Issue 1 & Issue 2.  We made up a series of 116 uniquely-numbered postcards, featuring either pre-selected “shimmery bits” (quotes, excerpts, lines, images, what have you) from poems that appeared in our first two issues or a blank front (where you could fill in your own favorite “shimmery bit” from an LR poem), and asked people at AWP to take one home, to write a response to their chosen excerpt in the form of a poem on the back, and to mail it back to us by April 15th.  The idea here is that we will post the cards that we receive to the blog (as they come in) and that we’ll even choose a few that we particularly like to publish in an upcoming issue.

You can expect to see more about the project—including reminders, and (hopefully!) responses, in upcoming weeks, but for those of you who were not able to make it to the conference, we wanted to offer you the opportunity to participate, as well, and so we are going to give away our 13 remaining postcards (all of which are of the fill-in-yourself variety) to the first 13 commentors on this post.  Here are the rules:

  1. Leave a comment on this post with your name, a contact email address, and the title of your favorite poem from Issue 1 or 2 of LR.
  2. We will contact the first 13 (human/non-spam/individual) commentors for their mailing addresses and will send them each a postcard via snail mail.
  3. If you receive a card, all you have to do is to inscribe a short quote or excerpt from a poem in Issue 1 or 2 on the front of  the card, write a poem on the back in response to that quote, stick on a postcard stamp, and send it back to us by April 15th.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Many thanks,

Iris & Mia
The Editors.