Summer Reads: Michelle Peñaloza, Kenji C. Liu and Gowri Koneswaran

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.

Michelle writes:

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

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Summer Reads: Issue 2 Contributor Kimberly Alidio

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.

She writes:

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)

Tisa Bryant, [the curator] (Belladonna, 2009)

kari edwards, iduna (O Books, 2003)

Marcella Durand, Traffic & Weather (Futurepoem, 2008)

Renee Gladman, To After That (Toaf) (Atelos, 2008)

Christine Hume, Alaskaphrenia (New Issues, 2004)

Brenda Iijima, ed., )((eco(lang)(uage (reader)) (Nightboat, 2010)

Myung Mi Kim, Penury (Omnidawn, 2009)

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Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Henry W. Leung

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 1 contributor and 2010-2011 staff writer Henry W. Leung.

He writes:

Criticism:
Foreign Accents by Steven G. Yao. This just came out and was a helpful if limited summation of the three broad phases of Chinese American verse (racial protest, lyric testimony, & ethnic abstraction).

Chinese Writers on Writing edited by Arthur Sze. Also just came out. All translated from Chinese, some for the first time. I recommend the whole series: it’s a hugely important intro to current international writers–on their own terms.

After Confession
edited by Kate Sontag & David Graham. Ten years old but a grand discovery for me. American poets on where the “I” belongs in poems today.

Poetry:
The History of Anonymity by Jennifer Chang, my patron poet from Kundiman!

Graphic:
Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines. I’ve just started this and it’s gorgeous, multitextual, and resonates with some of what DeLillo did in White Noise.

Thanks for this reading list, Henry, and happy summer!

*  *  *

Henry’s poem “Question for a Painter” can be found in Lantern Review, Issue 1.  His many editorials, interviews, and book reviews can also be found on the LR blog – just search for his name on the blog’s homepage.

 

Weekly Prompt: Stein on My Mind

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Paris 1923 | Courtesy of VerySmallKitchen

Speaking of summer reading, my summer reads (and flicks too, apparently!) have demonstrated the uncanny trend of featuring the work and life of a single character: Gertrude Stein.  Without knowing anything about the book except that it was recommended to me by multiple people, I started reading Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt.  I’m about four chapters into the novel, and have just begun to realize that the mysterious “Mesdames” referenced obliquely throughout the introductory chapter are none other than Alice B. Toklas and, as she is called in the book, “GertrudeStein.”

 

I had also planned to read Juliana Spahr’s Everybody’s Autonomy: Collective Reading and Collective Identity (University of Alabama Press, 2001) later this month, and when I flipped through it a few days ago — lo and behold, the title of chapter one?  “There Is No Way of Speaking English: The Polylingual Grammars of Gertrude Stein.”  Spahr goes on to consider such figures as Lyn Hejinian, Harryette Mullen, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, but, as far as I can tell, grounds most of her inquiry in the groundwork Stein laid for future generations of poets in Tender Buttons and other influential writings.

But last night’s movie is what really convinced me that something the universe has been orchestrating a grand conspiracy to get Stein on my mind.  Friends had warned us to walk into Midnight in Paris without any expectations or previous knowledge about the film, so we had no clue what the movie was about — or into whose home the main character would stumble after wandering into 1920s Paris.  I won’t spoil the (admittedly very thin) plot, but suffice it to say, I got the message.

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Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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.

He writes:

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!

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Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Subhashini Kaligotla

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.  In this, our last installment, Subhashini Kaligotla shares about her summer reading plans.

Subhashini tells us,

“Since I am very interested in long poems but have succeeded in writing them only by putting together sections or fragments, I thought it would be useful to read Paisley Rekdal, who is a master of the long poem that marries lyric and narrative quite skillfully.  So I am looking forward to reading her Six Girls Without Pants and The Invention of the Kaleidoscope.

The other part of my summer list includes an old favourite—Nick Flynn’s Some Ether—and a few other books that also handle family narratives and loss in a collection of lyric poems: Marie Howe’s What the Living Do; Donald Hall’s The Painted Bed; Gregory Orr’s Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved; and Kevin Young’s Dear Darkness.”

Subhashini’s poem “Sydney Notebook” can be found in Issue 1 of Lantern Review. Many thanks to her, and to all of the Issue 1 contributors who have shared their reading lists with us this summer.  We hope that this series has inspired you to explore new titles and poets in your own summer reading queues.  Now it’s your turn: what is the best book that you’ve read this summer, and why?  We’d love to hear; tell us about it in the comments below.

Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Jai Arun Ravine

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 reads from Jai Arun Ravine.

In an email, Jai enumerated the following books:

“Found” – Souvankham Thammavongsa
“Small Arguments” – Souvankham Thammavongsa
from unincorporated territory [saina]” – Craig Santos Perez
Lake M” – Brandon Shimoda
Chimney Swift” – Jason Daniel Schwartz

Thank you Jai, for sharing this list with us.  Jai’s poems “dern, 1” and ‘dern, 2” can be found in Issue 1 of Lantern Review.

Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Eileen R. Tabios

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 of titles that were recommended to us by Eileen Tabios.

Writes Eileen,

“For another venue, I came up with a Summer reading list in poetry here . . .

From above list and for LR — I can recommend the following Asian American titles:
Juvenilia by Ken Chen (Yale University Press)
Far far above the typical poet’s first book. Admirably — and effectively — ambitious. Sophisticated. Will make you fall in love
Bending The Mind Around The Dream’s Blown Fuse by Timothy Liu (Talisman House)
Simply: Magnificent!
Texture Notes by Sawako Nakayasu (Letter Machine Editions)
Intelligent luminosities!”
Many thanks to Eileen for sharing these titles with us!  Her poem “DISASTER RELIEF (#2)” can be found in Issue 1 of Lantern Review.  She can also be found online at her blog, “THE BLIND CHATELAINE’S KEYS.”

Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Tamiko Beyer

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 sent to us by Tamiko Beyer.

Says Tamiko,

“Here’s what’s on my reading stack right now:

Cascadia, by Brenda Hillman
Incendiary Circumstances, by Amitav Gosh
Ida, by Gertrude Stein
the ecolanguage reader, edited by Brenda Ijima
The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami (finally!)
Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip
And chapbooks by Jason Bayani and Bushra Rehman, which I got from the authors at the most recent Kundiman retreat!”

Many thanks to Tamiko for sharing these titles with us.  Check out her postcard poem in Issue 1’s special feature on Kundiman, or follow her online at her personal web site, www.wonderinghome.com, and at the Kenyon Review blog.

Summer Reads: Issue 1 Contributor Rachelle Cruz

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 Rachelle Cruz’s summer reading list.

Rachelle says,

“Here’s my long list.  A mix of poetry and mystery (I work at a specialty mystery bookstore):

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield

Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski

Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman

Dawn Light by Diane Ackerman

Transformations by Anne Sexton

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Delivered by Sarah Gambito

Toxic Flora by Kimiko Hahn

I-Hotel by Karen Yamashita

So Much Things To Say by Kwame Dawes”

Many thanks to Rachelle for sharing her list with us.  You can read her poem “I Am Still Alive” in Issue 1 of Lantern Review or find more of her on the web at rachellecruz.com and on her radio show, The Blood-Jet Writing Hour.