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 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.
I just received my author copy of issue 8 of Apogee Journal. I am so grateful to Joey De Jesus and Muriel Leung for inviting me to send work, for including me with such an amazing cohort of writers. I wept reading Justin El-Khazen’s “Hummingbird Effect,” which responds so eloquently to the outrage we all felt at the public and ongoing police brutality across the country. I loved the vibrant reproductions of photographs and installations, the intelligence of their critique and social reach. So many of these pieces describe a haunting, the traumatic post-memory of an Event that is seared into us from a distance, and how we continue. If you want to see how art connects us, how it urgently speaks, then please order a copy and subscribe to this journal.
My piece is a short selection from a personal essay/lyric study/photo series titled “Relinquish the Sky.” It explores cultural orphaning and light.
This came out just around the holidays, and I forgot to link to it!! An INCREDIBLE review of my new book, Solar Maximum, over at Ploughshares! Thanks to John Rufo for the immense attention and care. WOW.
I have a new poem up at The Fanzine! It’s called “The Thaw” and is dedicated to my explorations in the sub-arctic, and it ruminates over the essential “blue print” of life. When I was in that blue light, I couldn’t help but feel that I was connecting with something deeply ancestral–not just on a human scale, but ancestral to all of life’s basic energies. It was a beautiful, solitary, contemplative time up there.
Speculative literature author Peter Tieryas just wrote the very first review of my new book over at Entropy Magazine. Entropy is hands down one of my favorite online literature and culture sites, and I am so grateful for his generous critical attention!
My third collection, SOLAR MAXIMUM, is now available for order from Small Press Distribution! I am immensely grateful to Futurepoem for ushering it into the world as such an incredibly gorgeous object.
I wrote this book when I was filled with a great sense of turbulence and concern about our collective human future. I started to wonder what humanity might become–the spiritual essence of our humanity–in the wake of a massive disaster.
I had also begun a daily sky-watching practice…of simply and quietly observing the sky for a few silent minutes each day. I was touched by the way the sky was so transformative each instant, and how all terrestrial life makes its way under this vast aerial canopy.
I began to write these poems trying to trace–to speculate upon–this future spiritual phenomenon. I wanted to inhabit it as fully as I could from within my own consciousness, and poetry seemed the best mode for trying to do so. I envisioned a calamity we couldn’t escape–the dying sun. And I wondered about what strange, monstrous light it might cast in its final months and days. Many creatures experience a sudden bloom or intensity just before they die. I feel the sun would be no different at its end. But what would that mean for us, the intimate receivers of this light?
If you also feel full of a strange impending calamity, if you desire to let loose within yourself an otherwise of light, than I would love to share my words with you. To inhabit and imagine the space after together–even if only in a dream space.
I won’t delve into the yellowface scandal in this year’s Best American Poetry anthology since I’ve already chimed in publicly elsewhere (at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop), but did want to acknowledge the incredibly generous comment by Janice Lee for lithub’s spotlight on #actualasianpoets. Lists in general are rather impossible enterprises, but I was honored to be included here.