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I received a note from my former publisher, Bill Marsh at Factory School, that he was no longer able to host or sell copies of my second book, Underground National. I was pretty sad to hear this, as that book felt like a great leap forward for me and a genuine contribution to experimental and diaspora literatures. I considered shopping it around a few other presses, but decided I just want the work out in the world. It’s available now as a free download on my site.

The only sad thing about this option is that I no longer have the image files of the beautiful cover image that Bekhyon Yim designed for this book. It’s one of my favorites–I love the minimalism and clarity of the design.

 

 

As part of National Poetry Month, I was asked to write a short blog post for the Poetry Foundation. My piece is titled “Self Portrait in an Academic Poetry Industrial Complex Mirror.” I decided to write about academic poetry, power dynamics, the relationship between rigor in writing and rigor’s complicity in the student loan crisis. There’s a lot in there. I end on cute animals. It’s a fairly honest assessment of where I currently land related to all these issues.

Also, I find the graphic for the essay HILARIOUS. I’m grateful to my boyfriend for finding someone to do this quickly for me. I’m referencing the avant-garde’s, academicization and institutionalization through an oblique glance at John Ashbery with this image.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

When I was asked to write this blog post, I had many topics I considered, but I kept returning to this—that the relative rareness of my not being in academia is in fact a rare thing… especially when I can’t help but feel that my work is so, well, academic.

What I’ll try to touch on is the relationship between experimental aesthetics and economic exploitation in the academic poetry industrial complex. Are you a PhD escapee, like me? Do you want to get an advanced creative writing degree? Are you writing faculty somewhere? My post will hopefully resonate with you.

I’ll be supporting the incredible Suchitra Mattai’s Final Friday takeover event at the Denver Art Museum at the end of this month. If you haven’t had the chance to experience her thoughtful installation and textile work, RUN to this.

You will find me reading some poems in the Jordan Casteel exhibition (!!!) with the beautiful Serena Chopra.

I had the chance to be part of a group show Joshua Ware curated at Georgia Gallery in Denver last year with Suchitra, and I’m a HUGE FAN.

The whole night should be a lot of fun with tons of engagement opportunities for folks of all ages.

I can’t express how grateful I am to Janice Lee and YiDeum Kim for bringing so many Korean American authors to readers in South Korea through this special bilingual publication.

They selected an excerpt of the work I pulled together for my Peace Light installation, which included language from so many people I love and respect.

I’m excited to share that I’ll be supporting Emily Yoon’s new book release, A Cruelty to Our Species, at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop on Tuesday September 25th. Emily is an incredible writer, community builder, and advocate for the vibrant complexities of Asian/American cultural expression. I’m honored to see her share this new work in person and read with her, Wo Chan, and Kristin Chang.

On a personal note, I’m deeply touched to have been asked to share with this next generation of upstarts, innovators, and community builders. They’re taking our movement into new directions and necessary conversations, and it is a joy to bear witness and participate in that. When I was coming up as a writer almost 20 years ago (gasp), I wasn’t certain if there would ever really be a community for me. I got used to being the only As/Am author in so many spaces, and frankly the way I was approaching language often felt far afield. I’m so proud of the way Asian/American literature has centered on complexity, challenge, and nuance. I’m proud of our community and grateful for all who continue to pour themselves into it.