Editors’ Corner: On Our Radar (March 2014)

Happy Thursday! A lot of relevant literary news has been making the rounds as of late, so we thought we’d do a quick roundup to keep you up to speed.

2014 Kundiman Prize Deadline Nears

The 2014 Kundiman Book Prize, co-sponsored by Alice James Books, is still accepting manuscripts for consideration until Saturday (3/15). If you’re an Asian American poet who’s been shopping around a full-length poetry manuscript, we encourage you to submit. Past winners have included Janine Oshiro (2010; interviewed on our blog here), Matthew Olzmann (2011; interviewed here), Cathy Linh Che (2012; featured in this Q&A), and Lo Kwa Mei-en (2013). More information, including guidelines, can be found here.

Updates: New and Forthcoming Book Releases by Contributors & Staff

Earlier this year, we previewed a few books that are forthcoming in 2014, and we were recently excited to learn that Tarfia Faizullah’s Seam has now officially been released and that Kristen Eliason’s Picture Dictionary is now available for pre-order on her publisher’s website.

In other contributor publication news, Craig Santos Perez’s third book, from unincorporated territory [guma’]is forthcoming from Omnidawn later this year, and Don Mee Choi’s translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (of which we published an excerpt in Issue 6) was launched at AWP last month. Additionally, Luisa A. Igloria, whose latest collection Henry reviewed here, recently announced that she has two more books forthcoming: Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser, for which she won the May Swenson Poetry Award, and Night Willow, due out from Phoenicia Publishing (in Montreal) this spring.

New Book of Interest: April Naoko Heck’s A Nuclear Family

Every now and then, we come across a new book that we wonder why we didn’t know about earlier, and this is one of them: April Naoko Heck’s debut collection, A Nuclear Family, which was just released. I [Iris] have been a fan of Heck’s work for some years now, ever since I encountered some of her poems in the first issue of AALR.  She writes with clarity and surety, an ear for music, and an eye for lush visual textures, artfully interleaving and building up layers of image to form beautifully collaged, almost dreamlike, poetic landscapes. I was thrilled to learn that she now has a book. (I only wish I had known about it in January when I started putting together our 2014 preview/round-up!)

“The Honey Badgers Don’t Give a Book Tour” Launching This Summer

We were delighted to learn that four of our past contributors (Eugenia Leigh, Sally Wen Mao, Cathy Linh Che, and Michelle Chan Brown) have banded together to do a book tour this summer. Their first stop will be a launch party in NYC (at LouderARTS Bar 13), on July 14th; the remaining tour dates have not yet been announced, but you can follow their website to stay abreast of future developments.

APIA Lit Mag News

A news round-up here wouldn’t be complete without a few updates about recent developments from our colleagues at other APIA literary magazines. One thing is for sure: they’ve been busy.

Last month, Kartika Review released its 2012–2013 anthology (now available for sale on Lulu). Its pages contain work by our very own Mia Ayumi Malhotra and Henry W. Leung,  as well as pieces by a number of LR contributors, including Karen An-hwei Lee, Khaty Xiong, Lee Herrick, Michelle Chan Brown, Neil Aitken, Purvi Shah, R. A. Villanueva, Rachelle Cruz, and W. Todd Kaneko.

The AALR also just released its newest issue, themed around the topic of “Local/Express: Asian American Arts and Community in 90s NYC” and guest edited by Curtis Chin, Terry Hong, and Parag Rajendra Khandhar. LR contributors’ work abounds in its pages, as well: R. A. Villanueva, Ocean Vuong, Purvi Shah, Eugenia Leigh, and Cathy Linh Che all have work that appears in the issue.

Last, but not least, TAYO recently launched their fifth issue (which takes “Community” as its theme). They also posted this very thoughtful response to some of the reactions to their revised open submissions policy (in which they will now consider work that is not specifically themed around Filipina/o issues) on their blog. The issues that they address in their post highlight what I think is a very real dilemma for many publications serving specific communities of color: how does one navigate the balance between focusing on being a resource for those within the community while simultaneously remaining relevant within the greater literary conversation—enabling participation from and dialogue with voices from outside the community, as well? It’s a fuzzy line that’s not always easy to walk.

Virtual Reading for APIA Month: Coming Soon

Lantern Review is excited to be participating in a first-of-its-kind virtual reading that will take place this May, in celebration of APIA Heritage Month. Curated by Kenji C. Liu (a past LR contributor and former poetry editor of Kartika Review), the reading will feature contributors from each of several APIA literary magazines, and will take place online in real time—through Google Hangouts. The details of the event are still being worked out, but we will be sure to Tweet and Facebook updates as we know more.

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That’s all we have for you today, but please continue to keep us updated on relevant literary news via Facebook and Twitter so that we can share it—we love hearing what you (and the poets you admire) have been up to!


ConferenceOverviewScreen shot 2013-03-02 at 4.24.57 PM

Here’s a preview of what Lantern Review will be up to at this year’s AWP conference… which is coming up in just a few days! You’ll find us listed in the bookfair catalogue as Lantern Review Kartika Review, located at Table Y2 in Exhibit Hall D, Level 2. For the second year in a row, we’ll be tabling with Kartika Review this time, with the wonderful support of our friends at TAYO Literary Magazine and Hyphen.

We’ll have chapbooks, magazines, and lots of other information about what’s happening in the Asian American literary world… not to mention an interactive display that will allow you to “put yourself on the map,” so to speak, of Asian American literature. See you next week!

Some Panels of Interest

R131. Baring/Bearing Race in the Creative Writing Classroom. (Aimee Suzara, Kwame Dawes, Debra Busman, Diana Garcia, Lee Herrick)

F150. Intersecting Lineages: Poets of Color on Cross-Community Collaboration. (Ching-In Chen, Sherwin Bitsui, Celeste Guzman Mendoza, Hayan Charara, Kevin Simmonds)

F162. The New Workshop: Literary Community through Pedagogical Innovation, Sponsored by Kundiman. (Sarah Gambito, Regie Cabico, Paisley Rekdal, Myung Mi Kim)

F251. The Divided Heart: Writing Far From Home. (Sandra Yee, Eduardo C. Corral, Ishion Hutchinson, Valzhyna Mort, Jane Wong)

F279. Visible Shores: Writers of Color Listening Across Waters. (Patrick Rosal, Tiphanie Yanique, Roger Bonair-Agard, Christian Campbell, Rachelle Cruz)

S122. Biracial Women Poets. (Brenda Shaughnessy, Monica Ferrell, Paisley Rekdal, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Monica McClure)

S203. Inside Asian American Editing: How Aesthetics and Advocacy Affect Five Editors’ Publishing Decisions. (Allen Gee, Phong Nguyen, Sunyoung Lee, Jennifer Derilo, Tarfia Faizullah)

BF39. Kundiman:10-Year Celebration of Lovesongs, Verses, and Books. (Joseph O. Legaspi, Cathy Linh Che, Mathew Olzmann, Brynn Saito, Sharon Suzuki-Martinez)

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For a complete listing of panels and readings, browse the official conference schedule on the AWP website.


Editors’ Corner: On Our Radar (January 2013)

Good morning, and Happy New Year! We’re back from our holiday hiatus!

We thought we’d start off 2013 with a quick editorial roundup of a few exciting  news items that have been on our radar as of late, but which we didn’t have an opportunity to bring to your attention over the break:

Kundiman Poetry Retreat Applications Open

New fellow applications for the 2013 Kundiman retreat are now open, until February 1st. This year’s retreat will take place from June 19–23 at Fordham University, and its star-studded faculty lineup will feature Li-Young Lee, Srikanth Reddy, and Lee Ann Roripaugh. Why should you apply? Well, because the retreat is an experience like no other for anyone who considers themselves an Asian American poet. (And who wouldn’t want to chance to work with Li-Young Lee or Srikanth Reddy?) To learn more about the application process, visit the Kundiman web site. (And if you’d like to read some firsthand accounts of what the retreat’s like, you can read about Henry’s and my first experiences there in this 2011 post).

Contributor Eugenia Leigh to helm poetry section of Kartika Review

We recently learned that Issue 3 contributor (and guest reviewer) Eugenia Leigh will succeed Issue 2 contributor Kenji C. Liu as poetry editor of Kartika Review after the latter’s having stepped down from the position late last fall. To Eugenia: our congratulations on the new position—we are excited to see where you will be taking KR next; and to Kenji: cheers on a job well done, and best of luck with all of your future endeavors.

Madding Mission Journals and ECRITUREartefacts by Desmond Kon

Issue 1 contributor Desmond Kon recently launched two lines of literary art “objects”: Madding Mission Journals and ECRITUREartefacts. I’ve long been a fan of Desmond’s hand-lettered art as well as of his poetry, and both of these collections of goods, which feature stylish typography, quirky poem-snippets,  and the occasional cheeky illustration (like a mug featuring a bar of soap, a lemon, and a high-heeled shoe), feature both of his talents to full effect. Congrats to Desmond on this new and exciting venture. Check out his line of blank journals here, and his shop of other literary goods here.

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That’s all the news we have for you this morning. Regular content on the blog will resume later this week; check back on Wednesday for our first contributor post of the New Year, in which Wendy Chin-Tanner interviews Lao American poet (and Issue 4 contributor) Bryan Thao Worra.

Panax Ginseng: The Shallow Underworld of This History

Panax Ginseng is a monthly column by Henry W. Leung exploring the transgressions of linguistic and geographic borders in Asian American literature, especially those which result in hybrid genres, forms, vernaculars, and visions. The column title suggests the congenital borrowings of the English language, deriving from the Greek panax, meaning “all-heal,” and the Cantonese jansam, meaning “man-root.” The troubling image of one’s roots as a panacea will inform the column’s readings of new texts.


Literasians Panel (Photo credit Elezanbee Vue)


For APIA Heritage Month, the SOMArts Gallery in San Francisco ran an exhibit from May 3-25 curated by Jennifer Banta: “The Future Is NOW: Asian America On Its Own Terms.” I parsed the exhibit’s title as a reconception of time (“future,” “now”) through geopolitical space (“Asian America”) and voice (“its own terms”). There were two art installments in the exhibit which I regarded as conceptual centerpieces. The first was “Are we there yet?” by Truong Tran: a small, woven boat suspended over a blue panel with “Are we there yet?” repeated across it in a splash of font sizes. The woven boat here is a ruralized image of the refugee immigrant (i.e. “boat people”) juxtaposed to the refrain of the suburban child in a car’s backseat—two generations of passengers condensed into one locus of space and voice. Across from this piece was another, “Red Lips” by Su-Chen Hung: a pool of water gurgling from a covered and endless source, rippling outward from beneath red tasseled “lips.” In this post, I’d like to show the engagement with “now” to be a convergence of past, present, and future all at once by looking at a literary panel held in the gallery space, and by considering the work of two poets recently featured on the LR blog, Garrett Hongo and Andre Yang.

The panel was titled Literasians and took place on May 24th. Kartika Review editor-at-large Christine Lee Zilka moderated a discussion between Sandra Park, Aimee Phan, Lysley Tenorio, and Andre Yang. Though the art fixtures were not commented upon directly, they were very present as the event’s backdrop. The panel’s description, “writers converging on the APIA literary continuum,” was in line with the thematic use of spatialized time, with “continuum” referring at once to a linear series and a dimensional whole. The panelists spoke on one end of the gallery while the water bubbled from “Red Lips” on the other end. Lined up behind the writers was “Most Wanted” by Taraneh Hemami, a series of face portraits elevated and blurred. And even farther back was a timeline chronicling APIA art exhibits shown at this site since 2002. All this contributed to making the space one of historical synchronicity.

Continue reading “Panax Ginseng: The Shallow Underworld of This History”

Event Coverage: Reflections on AWP 2012

Detail of AWP 2012 Exhibit
Close-up of our AWP 2012 table display

In past years, our experiences at AWP have been a flurry of panels and events. In Denver, we soaked up readings from Kundiman and Cave Canem, From the Fishhouse, and Split this Rock, attended discussions on hybrid and transnational poetry, and had fun introducing LR by word of mouth. In D.C., we spent a little time in the bookfair, hosted a joint off-site reading with Boxcar Poetry Review, were interviewed by APA Compass Radio, and attended a plethora of Asian-American-specific panels that inspired us to probe our own editorial vision more deeply. This year’s conference, however, was different.  For the first time, we’d purchased and registered for a spot in the bookfair, and so I spent most of my time down in the exhibition area, manning the table that we were sharing with the lovely folks from Kartika Review.  The experience, while exhausting, was wonderfully exhilarating.  It was gratifying to get to meet the contributors who stopped by, life-giving to get to share resources with other young Asian American writers who were searching for community.  I was encouraged after meeting the handful of teachers who came by in search of resources for particular Asian American students of theirs, and was ecstatic about having the chance to strike up conversations with the many strangers who, in spite of having little familiarity with (or even interest in) Asian American literature, stopped by the table out of sheer curiosity.

LR mini-books (featuring past Friday Prompts) on display

In large part, I think we had our joint Pocket Broadsides project to thank for drawing many of those unlikely visitors to our table. (For a brief explanation of the project, see this post). Throughout the weekend, a surprising number of passers-by stopped to examine our colorful display of business-card sized poetry and prose, and ended up staying to chat.  As a result, Jennifer Derilo (Kartika‘s nonfiction editor) and I had many fruitful beginnings of conversations about what Asian American literature is, and had the opportunity to talk about and recommend the work of our contributors to people who were relatively unfamiliar with Asian American writing and writers. We were amazed by the ability the Broadsides seemed to have to attract people who might not otherwise have looked at our table.  Last year, when Boxcar had been kind enough to allot us some space on their table, Mia and I had noticed that many of the people who’d paused in front of our materials had responded to our attempts at conversation with, “No, thanks, I’m not Asian American,” before beating a rapid retreat.  So it was incredibly encouraging this year to see people not only stop to look, but actually talk about, the pieces that we had out on the table. I very much enjoyed getting to hear some of the stories behind why people chose particular Pocket Broadsides (one person selected a micro-prose piece based on the fact that it featured halo-halo—apparently a favorite dessert of hers, while the individual who took home Tamiko Beyer’s poem about teeth said they were going to give it to a friend who was a dentist), and it was equally encouraging to hear the stories behind the pieces that people created for us in exchange, and to see some of them return with friends in tow.  By lunchtime on Saturday, all 50 broadsides were gone; Jennifer and I were floored by how rapidly they’d disappeared.

Continue reading “Event Coverage: Reflections on AWP 2012”


It’s that time of year again, and now that Issue 4 has successfully launched, we’re on our way to AWP. There are a few different ways you can connect with us at this year’s conference, so read on and we’ll see you in Chicago!

1. AWP Bookfair: LANTERN REVIEW and the “Asian American Literary Collective”
This year we’ll be sharing a table at the bookfair with Kartika Review under the name “The Asian American Literary Collective.” This will be the best way to connect with us–so do drop by and say hello! Our table number is S16 and we’ll have information about an exciting new project (see below!) and as well as a number of other Asian American literary organizations and publications.

Continue reading “LR News: LANTERN REVIEW at AWP 2012”

Review: Kim Koga’s LIGATURE STRAIN and Margaret Rhee’s YELLOW YELLOW

Ligature Strain by Kim Koga and Yellow / Yellow by Margaret Rhee | Tinfish Press 2011 | $3.00


In typography, a ligature is the conjunction of two or more letters into a single glyph.

In typography, an index is a punctuation mark indicating an important part of the text with a pointing hand.

Margaret Rhee’s Yellow/ Yellow and Kim Koga’s Ligature Strain meet in a typographical terrain of conjugation and decomposition, where fists appear in the margins. These texts saturate their pages to such a degree that I wish these words could stain my fingers—pink, brown, yellow.

These works are first chapbooks for both Koga and Rhee, and are #5 and #6 in Tinfish Press‘ yearlong Retro Series. Since April 2011, one chapbook has been released per month, each designed by Eric Butler.

In Ligature Strain it’s winter; in Yellow / Yellow I want to believe it’s spring. In the way that Koga lays down planks of text and then proceeds to gnaw, Rhee threads Tila Tequila and her father’s ashes, nectarines and arithmetic with critical discourse on race and gender to index the margins. Continue reading “Review: Kim Koga’s LIGATURE STRAIN and Margaret Rhee’s YELLOW YELLOW”

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)


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)


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”

Editors’ Picks: APIA Writing Doesn’t End with May.

Perhaps it sounds obvious, but engagement with APIA art and writing shouldn’t be limited to the Month of May:  APIA writers and artists are, of course, producing and performing and publishing new and challenging works all year round.  Here are a few recommendations to get you started for the summer (in no particular order):

1. Takeo Rivera’s GOLIATH (dir. Alex Mallory). This powerful one-act choreopoem about the implications of the Iraq War, which began life as an original student play at Stanford, is making its New York City debut tomorrow, thanks to the brilliant creative talents of its playwright (Takeo Rivera) and its director (Alex Mallory).  Takeo is one of those rising-star-types whose work is impossible to miss once it’s entered your periphery: his aesthetic roots lie in the brave activism and the rhythmically-compelling sonic and dramatic gestures of spoken word, and his critical approach to his subject matter is thoughtful, complex, and blade-sharp (he has a Masters Degree in Modern Thought & Literature and is about to enter a PhD in performance studies this fall).  Alex (GOLIATH’s director), is also a forced to be reckoned with: she’s been directing productions and workshops in New York for a couple of years now, and before that, in college, she honed her chops by directing a number of major student productions and by founding The Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project.  Alex was also the major force behind bringing GOLIATH to the Big Apple.  GOLIATH has been newly revised for the New York stage and will be playing at the Robert Moss Theater for the next two weeks. If you’re living in New York City or will be in its vicinity during the next few weeks, I urge you to see this play. I t’s not something you want to miss!  [See the teaser trailer above].

2. “We Axe You to Speak”: Kartika Review’s first poetry reading.   Yes, folks.  Kartika Review’s inaugural reading event is tonight (6 to 8 pm at the SF Public Library, 100 Larkin St), and I highly recommend it (though I’m sad that I’ll have to miss it because I’m not on the West Coast).  Barbara Jane Reyes, Eddy Zheng, Margaret Rhee, Shelley Wong, and Kenji C. Liu.  Great lineup.  Landmark event.  To those of you in the Bay Area: GO.  You do not want to miss this if you can help it.

3. “I Got My”  Music Video ft. Jin [Magnetic North and Taiyo Na].  Bao Phi posted on Facebook that this “is not a music video – more like an Asian American family reunion, or maybe a map. Whatever it is, it’s a gift.”  One can’t help but agree: so many landmark APIA faces!  The video was created for APIA month, but its awesomeness, of course, extends far beyond the month of May alone.  Here’s the video:

Continue reading “Editors’ Picks: APIA Writing Doesn’t End with May.”

Friends & Neighbors: The 500 Project

We are a little behind on our news updates, but in case you have not already heard of this amazing project,  here’s a little plug for “The 500 Project,” which is being co-sponsored by Bryan Thao Worra and our friends at Kartika Review.

From their web page:

“Can’t we find, among all of those thousands, 10 individuals who are passionate about Asian American literature, writer activists who will express without equivocation that Asian American literature matters?

For each of the 50 states, there must be at least 10 Asian / Pacific Islander Americans that answer yes. And thus Thao Worra, joined by Kartika Review seek out those 500. Why should it be so hard to identify them and build a vibrant, amazing network of readers and writers? How can a canon of contemporary Asian American literature be built if we cannot even find these 500?”

The 500 Project, accordingly, “seeks to profile 10 APIA individuals from each of the 50 States who answer YES.”

To submit your profile, respond to the items in their short questionnaire, and email your answers to 500project [at] kartikareview (dot) com.  Include the name of your state, and your own name, in the subject line.

We at LR, of course, heartily encourage you to submit a profile.  Take a stand for the importance of APIA lit, and represent your state!

More on the  history and inspiration behind The 500 Project can be found here, at Kartika Review‘s web site.