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!

Here are the gorgeous titles:

And so (by Joel Brouwer)

Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning, and Aesthetic Theory
(by G. L. Hagberg)

Circle’s Apprentice (by Dan Beachy-Quick)

Collapsible Poetics Theater (by Rodrigo Toscano)

Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art
(Julia Prewitt Brown)

Degrees of Latitude (by Laurel Blossom)

(by Martin Corless-Smith)

Essays in Aesthetics (by Gérard Genette)

first adventures of col and sem (by Dan Waber)

From Within the Marrow (by Yong Shu Hoong)

HOME/BIRTH: A Poemic (by Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker)

How Small Brides Survive in Extreme Cold (by Steve Shavel)

Landfall Day: Selected Poems (by Enoch Ng Kwang Cheng)

LIGHT-HEADED (by Matt Hart)

Lucky Fish (by Aimee Nezhukumatathil)

My New Job (by Catherine Wagner)

Nomads with Samsonite (by Timothy Bradford)

Oriflamme(by Sandra Doller)

Rumor of Cortez (by Jeffrey Levine)

Secrets of My Prison House (by Geoffrey Gatza)

Seismosis(by John Keene & Christopher Stackhouse)

Stone Lyre: Poems of Rene Char (Translated by Nancy Naomi Carlson)

Sublimation Point (by Jason Schneiderman)

T&u& lash your nipples to a post history is gorgeous (by Jared Schickling)

The King (by Rebecca Wolff)

The Little Book of Guesses (by John Gallaher)

The Narrows (by Daniel Tobin)

The Network (by Jena Osman)

The Stamp Collector’s Wife (by Grace Chua)

Trailers(by Michael Basinski)

A gorgeous set of chapbooks from Dan Waber’s This Is Visual Poetry series (by Satu Kaikkonen, Derek Beaulieu, K. S. Ernst, Scott Helmes, Stephen Nelson, and John Moore Williams).


Thanks so much for sharing this reading list with us, Desmond, and happy summer!

*  *  *

To read Desmond’s poems, featured in Issue 1, click on the following titles: “first falling, to get here, ferric by foot” and “: craquelure at the interiors :.”


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