So I have to fangirl out a bit. I MET LI-YOUNG LEE TONIGHT and he is every bit as magical as I suspected. He gave the most intense reading and I had to follow him. I could barely even. This man’s poems were the green light to me that I could also be a poet. The intensity of his lyric expression told me that I didn’t have to perform a certain script for pain or survival. And after I shared my work, he told me it was beautiful. I hope I get to see him again. I gave him a copy of my new book, because it was LI-YOUNG LEE.
It’s happening! The Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Center is hosting its first ever Asian American Literature Festival next week in DC. I’ll be participating, as weill an incredible roster of artists, writers, publishers, and scholars. This is a historic event, and not to be missed. My participation is three-fold. I’ll be reading poetry as part of the Poetry Journal’s Asian American themed issue launch on Thursday night. On Friday, I’ll be making a Literary Address. The title of my remarks is “Awarding Abjection.” It’s likely to be a somewhat provocative conversation, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also hosting a salon on Experimentalism and Community Building. It should be a busy but amazing time! I’m so grateful to the organizers, most especially Lawrence Minh-Bui Davis for his selfless organizing efforts and immensely generous imagination for community. Click the image above to visit their program site.
It’s out! I can’t believe I’m in here, and in such incredible company. WOW. They published a selection from my Daybook project, when I wrote daily responding to the headlines about the North Korean missile crisis in the midst of heartbreak and longing. It seems useless to me to reference the year, since we’re collectively caught in a loop in the broader cultural psyche when it comes to Korea and the tensions there. Exploring that is a project I could spend a seeming lifetime on. How often must we sip from that f*cked up well until it is dry, we are dead, we are miraculously made whole again, or some other option I can’t think of right now.
I’m grateful to be included. I”m grateful for the editors, most especially Tim Yu and Lawrence Minh Bui Davis, for their enduring friendship, how they have made spaces for me and for others.
If you haven’t got a copy of Solar Maximum but want to enjoy its crazy apocalypse light this summer, now is your chance. My Elgin Award-nominated speculative poetry collection is on sale now with the code HELLYEA at Small Press Distribution. It also might be one of the most beautiful artifacts I’ve personally had associated with me. Dan Machlin and the Futurepoem team did an incredible job with the design and creation of this book. WOW.
It happened! My fourth book, No Comet, That Serpent in the Sky Means Noise, is now available to order from Kore Press. I can’t believe I get to join their family! I love this cover, designed by my dear friend and incredible poet, James Meetze. After reading his book, Phantom Hour, I knew we spoke the same language of loss. He also wrote a statement for the back of the text. I felt enfolded by such love and insight with Lisa and Ann at Kore, and with James. Cynthia Arrieu-King and Ruth Ellen Kocher also wrote statements for the book. Their spirits are simpatico with mine on so many levels. Cindy truly has become family to me over the years. Right now, I feel so gently held.
The cover art (and a few images internal to the text) were generously made available by Finnish photographer J-P Metsavainio. I am a huge fan of his incredible astral photographs, and found them to display an incredible subtlety and brilliance. I can’t wait for him to get a copy!
Some of them were the very first poems I wrote when I decided that I was a poet, back in my early 20s, astonishingly. One thing I will say about these poems is that they came from a space of grief. And yet, when I look these poems over, I feel solace. I think you will, too. I’ve been preoccupied with devastation the last many years. Solar Maximum explored a monster light–the last light of the sun before it destroyed the earth, and leaned into something strange. I feel like this new book of poems hold devastation a bit differently. They’re very human, these poems. Solar Maximum tended towards what we are moving into as we became other than human; with this new book, we’re still ourselves, miraculously.
I’m a little behind with updates and maintaining this page, but wanted to share some new work out online. The Spectacle Magazine, hosted by the English, Creative Writing, and Visual Arts programs at Washington University in St. Louis, published a short piece of mine, “Yet the grief body is a body of water” as part of their minima series.