I just learned over the weekend that The Los Angeles Review has accepted my poem “The Sky Will Look White” for publication in their Fall 2011 issue due out in October. I picked up a copy of the journal at the last AWP in DC, but first learned of them at the LA Times Festival of Books in 2009 when I visited the Red Hen Press table. It feels a bit like a sign from the universe: I’m looking to possibly relocate to LA from Fresno since completing my MFA last month. Or, at least, it’s a lovely and well-timed coincidence.

I just got my contributor copy of the current issue of Crab Creek Review! The issue is really beautiful, and also features work by my Fresno State colleague Cameron who won the poetry contest. I stopped by their booth at AWP this year in DC and it was lovely meeting the poetry editor there, and I couldn’t be happier that this Seattle-based journal selected a poem I wrote about the Northwest, “Stryker Shipment Leaving Tacoma.”  Also published in this issue is a pantoum I wrote (that Malaysian form close to my heart!) titled “Dishes.”  Obviously I’m smitten with these folks, and more convinced than ever that there’s a poetry connection between the Central Valley and the Puget Sound.  Copies can be purchased for $8 at their website, http://www.crabcreekreview.org/, but if I still lived in Tacoma I’d totally get my copy at Elliot Bay in Seattle or Last Word in Oly…!

I’m very excited to be part of a reading next month with three poets I admire: Mari L’Esperance, Lee Herrick, and Andre Yang.  The poetry reading is in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and will take place in the Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191) on the CSU Fresno campus.  The event is free, and will be held on Saturday, May 7, at 7:00 p.m.

A pdf of the flier can be accessed here: PoetryReadingAPAHM050711colorfinal042711

Just a quick update to say I’m looking forward to the reading this weekend at Beyond Baroque (681 Venice Bl., Venice, CA 90291). It’s a celebration of CALYX‘s 35th anniversary, and will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday, 3/27. There is a cover: free for members, $5 for students/seniors, $7 for general admission.  There’s some more information here!

Life got a bit hectic post-AWP—my thesis was due and fellowship deadlines came up—but I still managed to enjoy a number of books published this year that I picked up at the conference: Gary Jackson’s Missing You, Metropolis, Dorianne Laux’s The Book of Men, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Lucky Fish. Such a pleasure to read all three of them, and a wealth of inherent wisdom for a young writer in the process of revising/restructuring a first book.  Meanwhile, I’m working through some classic contemporary poets for the exam at the end of this final semester, and bringing Mr. Kunitz along with me for the drive to LA.

AWP Eve

January 31, 2011

I’m all packed for AWP and leaving Fresno tomorrow morning en route to D.C.!  This will be my second time around for the conference, and while I’m looking forward to all the panels and readings and parties, as well as being on the east coast for the first time, also while tabling with The Normal School, and hopefully finding out about opportunities to keep me busy this fall post-MFA… I have to say that, deep down in my nerd-heart, I am looking forward to the books.

I picked up so many amazing poetry collections last year, and they are what kept me company since then.  There’s something about a giant gymnasium filled with tables of books, often at great deals for teachers or just in general, sold and bought in person by folks who love reading and writing.  Off the top of my head, I am grateful for picking up Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s first two from the Tupelo table, All-American Poem by Matthew Dickman somewhere somehow, The Real Warnings by Rhett Iseman Trull at the Ahsahta table, an anthology of Mexican poetry titled Reversible Monuments from Copper Canyon, and so many more books of poems that fueled me, talked to me, and helped me write over the past year.  I look forward to stuffing this year’s readings in whatever crannies of my suitcase I can find, because they’ll certainly carry me through more than I can foresee.

On leaving

January 30, 2011

“[L]eaving home is mere practice / For leaving all, all the leavings learned / Again and again, until goodbye becomes / Addictive, last look behind, first look forward, / What you carry everywhere.”
—Shirley Geok-lin Lim, “Bogie Hole” from Walking Backwards

I just finished this latest collection from Shirley Geok-lin Lim, a poet who was recommended to me a couple years ago because of her connection to Malaysia, the place that contributes to half of my own background.  During my undergraduate years, Li-Young Lee was easily the only Asian poet I’d encountered, and it surprises me how much I’ve been able to read the past couple years to add to that.  How lucky I am to have explored his work more as well as the work of others in such a short time.  Lim’s poetry has a special significance for me, though, and this last book seemed to arrive at just the right time.

On what is enough

January 24, 2011

“There are enough things here / to remind me who I am.”
—”Letter Home,” Bellocq’s Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey

I don’t often underline words in my poetry books; I prefer to dog-ear pages and re-discover whatever moved me, or discover for the first time something I hadn’t noticed before.  But this line was so startling I couldn’t help myself.  (The whole poem is available on the Poetry Foundation website here.)

For me, the word “enough” conveys all the emotion, because it suggests a threshold.  At what point do we cross the threshold from present moment into reminder and memory?  What falls short of bringing us there, and what pushes us even beyond that?

I loved this book as much as Trethwey’s other two, possibly even more.  I’m sure I’ll revisit all three again and again.

Upcoming readings

January 23, 2011

I don’t post here much, but with a new year and my last semester at Fresno, I thought I should change that! So here’s a new layout, plus a new “readings” section. I’m looking forward to helping Calyx celebrate their 35th anniversary in March in LA, as well as reading at the Fresno Public Library in April. Somewhere in that mix I’ll also be reading at the Rogue Festival and from my thesis.

My hope is to check in here more often — much better than harassing my Facebook friends list with random quotations from poems. If you happen to be reading, say hi!

GreenWillow blog

March 2, 2010

Naomi Shihab Nye has written a post about the anthology on the blog for GreenWillow, the publisher of Time You Let Me In and an imprint of HarperCollins. You can read it here: http://greenwillowblog.com/?p=641 .  It was cool to read about her side of the process — how these poems by writers of a specific age range spoke to her, what they can offer that says more than what it is to be young but a writer who notices– as well as the comments of my fellow poets. Someone said something beautiful about how we might have lived each others’ lives; if you’re in the book too, please say hello!

Rogue is comin’…

February 24, 2010

As someone fairly new to Fresno, I experienced my first Rogue Festival only last year, and realized how lucky I am to be here in this city.  (Check out Rogue’s 2010 site here:  http://roguefestival.com/rogue2010/.)  This year I’m going to read one of the nights with the San Joaquin Literary Association, an organization on the campus of Fresno State.  Specifically I’ll read at The Spectrum Gallery at 608 E. Olive on Saturday, March 6th, at 8:45 p.m. — with my friend and poet Juan Guzman as well as creative nonfiction writers Rachel Jackson and Steven Church — and admission is $4.  Be sure to check out the rest of the festival, especially my friends with the Chicano Writers and Artists Association.  Both SJLA and CWAA are on Facebook, please say hi!