An Asian American Poetry Companion: Refreshing Reads for Spring (March 2022)

An Asian American Poetry Companion, Mar 2022. Cover images of: DREAM OF THE DIVIDED FIELD by Yanyi, NOTES FROM THE BIRTH YEAR by Mia Ayumi Malhotra, ALL THE FLOWERS KNEELING by Paul Tran, THE PURPOSE OF ALL THINGS by Jireh Deng, RETURN FLIGHT by Jennifer Huang, CONSTELLATION ROUTE by Matthew Olzmann, NIGHT SWIM by Joan Kwon Glass, CUSTOMS by Solmaz Sharif, BEAST AT EVERY THRESHOLD by Natalie Wee
New and Notable Books by Asian American Poets for Spring 2022

Our Asian American Poetry Companion series is back with more exciting reads to pick up—perfect for a warm spring day. Today, we’re thrilled to be bringing our readers nine fresh recommendations of new and forthcoming works from the Asian American poets that we know and love.

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Jireh Deng, The Purpose of All Things, (Self-Published, December 2021) 

Jireh Deng’s The Purpose of All Things may be the perfect thing for you to pick up this spring if you enjoyed their piece “Towards Fidelity” in Issue 9.2. Poems from Deng’s debut chapbook have been featured by the Human Rights Campaign, CSU Long Beach, and more. The Purpose of All Things features both poetry and artwork throughout the collection; available now.

Joan Kwon Glass, Night Swim, (Diode, March 2022) 

Joan Kwon Glass continues the exploration of mourning and reconciliation she began in her January chapbook, How to Make Pancakes for a Dead Boy (Small Harbor, 2022), with her full-length poetry collection, Night Swim. If you’ve already read and enjoyed her work in Issue 9.1, look forward to more in this collection, out from Diode this month. 

Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Notes from the Birth Year, (Bateau, March 2022)

Our associate editor and cofounder, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, provides a tender new lens on motherhood in her new chapbook with Bateau, Notes from the Birth Year. You’ll definitely want to pick up this collection of exploration and reflection this month. 

Matthew Olzmann, Constellation Route, (Alice James, January 2022) 

Matthew Olzmann’s work has been on our readers’ radars from the very beginning, his first contribution having been in Issue 1. If you enjoyed either of his previous collections (Mezzanines or Contradictions in the Design) or the vivid imagery and haunting musicality of his poems in Issue 6, Constellation Route may be your new favorite; out now from Alice James. 


Jennifer Huang, Return Flight, (Milkweed, January 2022)

Solmaz Sharif, Customs, (Graywolf, March 2022)

Paul Tran, All the Flowers Kneeling, (Penguin Poets, February 2022) 

Natalie Wee, Beast at Every Threshold, (Arsenal Pulp, March 2022)

Yanyi, Dream of the Divided Field, (One World, March 2022) 

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What titles are you looking to pick up this season? We hope to hear more about what you’re diving into this spring! Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@lanternreview).


Cover image of THE RENUNCIATIONS by Donika Kelly

The Renunciations by Donika Kelly (Graywolf Press, 2021)

Please consider supporting a small press or independent bookstore with your purchase.

As an Asian American–focused publication, Lantern Review stands for diversity within the literary world. In solidarity with other communities of color and in an effort to connect our readers with a wider range of voices, we recommend a different collection by a non-Asian-American-identified BIPOC poet in each blog post.

Four Fresh and Forthcoming APA Poetry Collections to Enjoy This Fall


As summer comes to a close, we wanted to alert you to a number of exciting collections by Asian American poets that are forthcoming this fall. These poems are both luminous vessels of time travel and crucial artifacts of our milieu. They are guides that point out the boundaries between worlds and identities and—with a sleight of hand—expose a hidden latch, revealing unseen horizons. We hope these poets’ offerings of sight, memory, and sound will help to sustain you this autumn. May they inspire you to continued resistance and resilience.

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A Cruelty Special to Our Species by Emily Jungmin Yoon (HarperCollins, Sept 2018)

Emily Jungmin Yoon’s collection is a persistent and lucid study of sexual violence, colonization, and war. Over and over, Yoon deploys language, documents its destruction. She returns to mourn; she collects the remains. At the heart of her project is “Testimony,” a section that gathers the stories of Korean women who survived Japanese occupation. In another sequence, “An Ordinary Misfortune,” the speaker asks, “How could I put a child in a haunted place.” This question resounds throughout the pages of her collection, relentless, resilient, and shapeshifting as Yoon’s lyric “I.”

You Darling Thing by Monica Ferrell (Four Way Books, Oct 2018)

Sardonic and erotic, Monica Ferrell’s second collection reads like a tête-à-tête gone rogue. Given voice, brides and beloveds come alive, unbraiding their limbs from Flaubert, Duchamp, and Tolstoy. Once stripped bare, now decked in furs, the women of Ferrell’s poems stalk and stomp, recognizing the bridegroom’s cry for what it is: “a lost boat’s foghorn bleating.” You Darling Thing arranges the savage dance of courtship, only to split the social contract of marriage: “A woman alone is a cave of violets, / A man alone a squirming rat, who squeaks.”

The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin by Kathleen Hellen (Saddle Road Press, Oct 2018)

The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin knits poetry with prose, Tokyo with Manzanar. Probing an elusive Japanese American identity and reaching deep into traditional Japanese poetic forms, past LR contributor Hellen writes boldly, “I have a mouth to tell my story.” The result is a hybrid collection that acts as star chart for the present and enacts a communion with the past.

Isako Isako by Mia Ayumi Malhotra (Alice James Books, Sept 2018)

We’re beside ourselves with excitement for our very own founding editor Mia Ayumi Malhotra, whose first collection just hit shelves yesterday! Inspired by the stories of Malhotra’s own grandmother and great-grandmother, Isako Isako grapples with Japanese incarceration and American occupation, as well as mass displacement and transnational migration. Four generations of women reach across lost decades and burning cities, and they convene in the poems to brush palms, slip tissues, and share war rations. When her speaker calls out, “Isako Isako are you leaving me. How much longer Isako will you remember me,” Malhotra sets forth a yearning that knows no bounds—after all, as the poems remind us, survival is nothing without remembrance.

The Bindery in San Francisco will be hosting a launch event for Isako Isako this evening, September 5, where the author will be joined by Jennifer S. Cheng (author of Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems) as well as experimental improv drummer Paul Sakai. If you’re local to the Bay Area, we hope you’ll consider coming out to celebrate our Mia with us!

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In this season of harvest, what collections are on your reading list? Which poets and what images do you find yourself returning to? Share them with us in the comments or let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (@LanternReview).

LR News: Mia’s Post Featured at the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Site

Mia's Post on the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Site

We are pleased to announce that the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation has graciously reprinted one of LR Associate Editor Mia Malhotra’s Weekly Prompt posts in their newsletter (and on their web site)!  Click here to read the reprinted post, or here to read the original.  Many thanks to the kind folks at the Foundation for their generosity.  Mia, we are proud of you!