Writers I know, writers I don’t, books that are new, books that are new to me, essay, poem, labyrinth, ventriloquist test, dead people, QR codes, famous screams, history lessons, fake choose your own adventures, pages and pages of bad-assery.
Any reading list that promises “pages and pages of bad-assery” sounds intriguing to us! Many thanks to Todd for sharing these titles.
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
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 —
Many happy returns, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing your list with us.
This week’s digital broadside download is actually two designs in one. Designer Kenji C. Liu has created two separate visions for Kimberly Alidio’s poem “translation” (from LR issue 2): not only has he designed a beautiful desktop wallpaper, featuring an image of a boat, but he’s also conceived of the printable version in such a way that it can be cut and folded into a miniature chapbook. Kenji (who’s a poet and past LR contributor himself, in addition to being a crackerjack graphic designer) had this to say about his decision to create a printable that requires an element of DIY:
The reason I decided to make an “interactive” broadside is I’m interested in making bookmaking as accessible as possible. The broadside is a great tradition that makes writing easier to distribute. I just wanted to take it one step further and demystify the book. This mini-chapbook is more in the DIY “zine” tradition but is also inspired by pocket poetry and “poems for all“. It is extremely easy to make, reproduce, and distribute. I hope others will use this format for their own poems, and leave them everywhere.
In the spirit of making it even easier to spread the poetry love, we’ve created a video tutorial demonstrating how to turn it into a book:
Both of Kenji’s beautiful designs can be downloaded at our “Digital Broadsides” page. Where will you leave a copy of your “translation” mini-chapbook? As always, we would love to see a photo or hear a story. Tag us on Facebook or on Twitter, leave a video response on YouTube, or send us an email at editors [at] lanternreview (dot) com.
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:
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 Review, Blackbird, 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 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!
Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series! Throughout the months of July and August, we will be featuring recommended reading lists submitted by Lantern Review contributors who want to share books they plan to read this summer and titles they want to suggest to the wider LR community. This week features a two sets of reads from LR Issue 2 contributors W. Todd Kaneko and JoAnn Balingit.
This is the first summer in a while that I will not be attempting to finish Infinite Jest. I always try but then give up (at about page 200) when the huge time commitment gets in the way of my work. So instead, I just finished How They Were Found by Matt Bell and have started Once the Shore by Paul Yoon. On deck after that are Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Queen of the Ring by Jeff Leen, and Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting. Also, my partner Caitlin Horrocks has a brand new book out, This is Is Not Your City—I’ve read the stories, but it’s exciting to re-experience them in the book.
My poetry reading list is too long and cluttered to convey in full, but I recently read and was transfixed by Ignatz by Monica Youn and If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting by Anna Journey. At the moment, I’m kind of mesmerized with Ardor by Karen An-hwei Lee. Up next are What the Right Hand Knows by Tom Healy, A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood by Allen Braden, Archicembalo by G.C. Waldrep, The Haunted House by Marisa Crawford, Delivered by Sarah Gambito, Spit by Esther Lee, and Before I Came Home Naked by Christina Olson.
I am also planning to play Fallout: New Vegas wherever I can fit it in.
Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series! Throughout the months of July and August, we will be featuring recommended reading lists submitted by Lantern Review contributors who want to share books they plan to read this summer and titles they want to suggest to the wider LR community. This post is a triple feature and includes reads from Issue 2 contributors Michelle Peñaloza, Kenji C. Liu and Gowri Koneswaran.
Here’s what I’m hoping to get to this summer:
Atlantis by Mark Doty The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata Natural History: A Selection by Pliny the Elder Just Kids by Patti Smith Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Welcome to our Summer Reads 2011 blog series! Throughout the months of July and August, we will be featuring recommended reading lists submitted by Lantern Review contributors who want to share either books they plan to read themselves this summer, or titles they want to suggest to the wider LR community. This week features a set of reads from Issue 2 contributor Kimberly Alidio.
I’m halfway through the Naropa Summer Writing Program — hello from Boulder to the Lantern Review family! My reading list relates to the conversations of the past two weeks. As I was compiling this, I was often tempted to add the line: “and, eventually, all her other books.”
Anselm Berrigan, Notes from Irrelevance (Wave, 2011)
Here’s an excerpt that showcases the poem’s masterful imagery—which is razor-sharp, tender, and resonant, yet just a touch fleeting and strange:
“Extinction begins as absence, ends gaping
like a surgery, a hole in my chest
marking that mythology we call home.
Mount Rainier does not drift phantomlike
in this poem, but here is that old woman,
crooked under the weight of a century.
She waves off that flock of dark birds
thronging overhead, threatening to pluck
eyes from sockets, tongues from mouths,
until all we can discern is the tide washing
over bare feet, the sound of wings.”
We love this poem (clearly) and are elated to see that others are enjoying it as much as we do. The “As It Ought to Be” editor writes of this poem, “Here’s to W. Todd Kaneko’s muse . . . She is a creature to be awed and honored.” We heartily agree.
Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American writer, cultural worker and educator who has been writing and performing in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1999. Her first play, Pagbabalik (Return) was produced in 2006-7 and featured at several Bay Area festivals, and she is developing her second, A History of the Body, both supported by the Zellerbach Arts Fund. Her poems can be found in several journals and anthologies, including Walang Hiya (No Shame): literature taking risks towards liberatory practice, Kartika Review, Konch Magazine, Lantern Reviewand her chapbook, the space between. She has been a featured poet and educator at schools, universities and arts venues nationally. Suzara has a Mills College M.F.A. and teaches English at Bay Area colleges. She has been a Hedgebrook Resident Artist and will be an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2011.
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, Aimee Suzara discusses her poem “My Mother’s Watch,” which appeared in Issue 2 of Lantern Review.
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Though I began writing it in 2008, three years after my parents’ return to the Philippines, this poem began on my first visit “home” in 1991. In the opening moment at the bustling palengke (market), my mother insisted that she keep on her beloved Rolex, despite the attention I felt it drew. Through the poem, I sought to gain empathy for her attachment to the watch and what it symbolized. At this crossroads where goods are sold and money exchanged, the watch became the entry point to my family’s journey as immigrants.
And so I traced back the genesis of this watch—more accurately, the events leading to the desire for the watch. I had been piecing together my parents’ story and was fascinated with their uprooting from the slow-paced life of their childhood, to the full-color Technicolor dream of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Elvis songs and surround-sound systems. I was interested in this proverbial upward mobility, how it swept these newlyweds, not more than a few dollars in tow, into a life of shiny hyper-Americana. We were an unusual Filipino family living up the nuclear-family dream, moving frequently, cut off from anything Pinoy. Racism was thick in the small desert town where I spent much of my childhood, and we were taught not to trust anyone. In the age of credit cards and microwaves, we were right up in it, and at times it seemed we lived on an island stocked, as if our ammunition against the world, with Betamax videos, Jiffy pop and Lean Cuisines.
In peer feedback, it was suggested that this was a poem about privilege and its contradictions. What had been lost, and what could possibly be gained in its place, when a sense of genuine status or acceptance would always be denied? In the attempt to return to our beginnings, what do we cling to? Now came the questions befit for memoir. Was I treating our story with enough compassion? I felt I had to ask permission; my mother read it, and she did not mind my candidness. In the writing of the poem, the roots of my parents’ desire for the “flashy” began to unravel. Images that pushed through marked my parents’ coming of age in America, and then mine.
The first draft of the poem was in three parts, but it was suggested that I separate it into more, that it was too rushed and condensed. This made sense for what I wished to convey about time. The watch, like a heartbeat, like our lives, ticked on its own time. In its final version, in five parts, the poem spans at least twenty-five years. In the remembering, and in the writing, time stands still.
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Excerpt from “My Mother’s Watch”
They do not yet miss their left-behind lives: Lolo’s rule in the house with the green metal gate where nine kids left for the West,one by one by one movie house in the little town by the sea popcorn sold out of recycled coffee cans
Sine del Sol burns to the ground: fatherless tensibling grudges
tsinellas shuf shuf shuffle across aged wooden floors timemeasured in sunrise and sunset
The ones left behind keep time in slow tick tock the clocks not turning digital
send us some Tang, cigarettes, M&Ms medicine, a change of the curtains
Marc Vincenz was born in Hong Kong to Swiss-British parents during the height of the Cultural Revolution. Later, he lived and worked in Shanghai for many years running an industrial design company. More recently, he moved to Iceland where he now works as a freelance journalist, poet, translator and literary critic. He is Poetry and Non-Fiction Editor for the international webzine Mad Hatters’ Review, Managing Editor of MadHat Press, and a member of the editorial board of the Boston-based Open Letters Monthly.
Marc’s recent poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in Spillway, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poets/Artists, Nth Position, Möbius The Poetry Magazine, MiPOesias, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, FRiGG, the nervous breakdown, elimae and Inertia. A chapbook, Upholding Half the Sky, was published as part of the MiPOesias Chapbook Series by GOSS183: Casa Menendez (2010). A new chapbook, The Propaganda Factory, is forthcoming from Argotist ebooks later this year.
In this year’s May Process Profile series, 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, Marc Vincenz discusses his poem “Taishan Mountain,” which appeared in Issue 2.
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It happens sometimes, particularly if I am sitting up late at night attacking a blank sheaf of paper, I’ll suddenly hit upon a line, probably something totally unrelated to the piece I’m attempting, but a line that seems to ring true of its own volition. In “Taishan Mountain,” the particular line that arrived was: “It’s here, hovering on China’s precipice, / the Chairman proclaims the East is Red, / deems himself ruler of all he beholds.” When I’ve captured what I think may be at the heart of a poem, or narrative, I leave it for a day or two. I let it sit there, all alone on the page, occasionally going back to it, staring at it, meditating upon it. Quite often what I consider my better lines “arrive” when I’m dozing—not quite in sleep—but falling towards it; to quote my own poem, “hovering on the precipice.”
In this fashion, while considering the event on Taishan Mountain, this shadow appeared. At first I thought it might be a woman—perhaps Jiang Qing (Mao’s last wife and leader of the so-called Gang of Four)—standing beside the little-big man as he conquered the world atop China’s fabled Taishan Mountain. I soon realized that this persona, and consequently the narrator, was actually an unknown man. I’m not sure how; perhaps it had something to do with his posture. And this man was not even Chinese. (Actually, during the course of the Communist accession to power, numerous foreigners advised Mao). I wondered, of course: what if Mao’s most trusted advisor had been an unknown da bizi, and what if this person had been his secret lover? Now, it’s a fact that Mao liked the ladies, and had innumerable affairs during the course of his reign; but much of his cult of personality is still steeped in mystery—as it is, of course, with many fated or fateful leaders. There is this incessant need to expose something as yet undiscovered, that one might better grasp his actions. On Taishan Mountain, a foreign man with a moustache changes our perception of everything we’ve held true until now.
Finally, “Taishan Mountain” is a poem within a collection based on my own real and imagined experiences in China: an attempt at a deeper conversation with a country where I spent much of my life. At some stage I realized that you can only start to “understand” the Middle Kingdom by breaking down Western notions of its foreignness. In reality, love in China is as any love affair might be: passionate probably, heartbreaking maybe, but surely as potentially hard—or fertile—as any red earth anywhere in the known universe. And, of course, it too has the potential to change our perceptions of the world.
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Excerpt from “Taishan Mountain”
On Revolution: You must not move with excessive haste, nor use excessive ruthlessness against the people. – the I-Ching, The Book of Changes
On Taishan Mountain behind the fog
we wait for first glimpses of dawn.
It’s here, hovering on China’s precipice,
the Chairman proclaims the East is Red,
deems himself ruler of all he beholds.
I’m standing right beside him.
We’ve just fought a war, he’s so thin,
and he has this steely glint
as if he’s stumbled across some great illumination.
It’s a moment of connection with the universe,
a revelation beyond normal human comprehension,
something to make history, like Einstein
unravelling the universal laws
of energy and mass and motion.