Category Archives: summer

Summer 2015 Reading List

summer-reading

Hello! It’s a good time to update with a summer reading challenge.

From Oliver de la Paz:

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

1) Pick 15 books that you would like to finish this summer–any genre, any size. This list doesn’t have to be at 15 right from the start. It will grow as the summer continues.

2) Of the 15 books, designate 3 that you recommend to co-participants. (After you’ve read them, of course).

3) Of the 15 books, 3 of the books must be from recommendations by other participants.

4) Post your 15 book list somewhere with a link so that co-participants can link you on their webpages, tumblr pages, or blogs.

5) Hold yourself accountable by posting commentary about a book you’ve just read. Commentary can also take the form of something creative or artistic.

6) The Challenge Ends August 31st. Have fun.

My list so far:

1.) How Formal? by Stephanie Hammer (poetry) (& her novel, The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior)

2.) Octavia’s Brood, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (POC sci-fi anthology)

3.) [insert boy] by Danez Smith (poetry)

4.Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (YA novel)

5.) Catalog of Unabased Gratitude by Ross Gay (poetry)

6.) Mad Honey Symposium by Sally Wen Mao (poetry)

7.) I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (YA novel)

8.) In the Country by Mia Alvar (fiction)

9.) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)

10.) Under a Painted Sky by Stacy Lee (YA novel)

11.) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA novel)

12.) Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows by Eugenia Leigh (poetry)

13.) Silent Anatomies by Monica Ong (poetry)

14.) Uzumaki by Junji Ito (horror manga)

15.) The Living by Matt de la Peña (YA novel)

The stats:

13/16 Writers/Editors of Color

10/16 Women Writers/Editors

6 Poetry collections

5 Novels (4 YA; 1 Adult)

2 Graphic novels

1 Anthology

Back-up Titles:

1.) Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)

2.) Dietland by Sarai Walker (fiction)

3.) The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (fiction)

4.)Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (graphic novel)

5.) Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman (graphic novel)

6.) I Kill Giants by Ken Niimura (graphic novel)

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Staying Sharp: A Post in Four Sections

As my funemployment continues, I’ve decided to make this time as fruitful for my writing as possible. To me, this means reading my butt off, scheduling shows for The Blood-Jet, submitting work, and editing Kuwento for Lost Things, an anthology of Philippine myths with co-editor and lovely fiction writer, Melissa Sipin.

Since my brain has been all over the place, this post is broken into sections as an attempt to organize my thoughts.

I. Ana Mendieta

Image

 

I’ve committed myself to writing for 3-4 hour blocks at least once a week (on top of daily writing).  I’m diving in and grazing the ocean floor.  During my first session, I used Cuban artist, Ana Mendieta’s Silhueta series, as sparks to begin writing.  The transitory nature of these works and Mendieta’s use of the body and nature that isn’t idyllic intrigues me.  They’re grotesque, mythic and downright scary.

As I wrote from her images, I thought about Akin’s legitimate rape, the shadows and imprints we leave everywhere we go, women’s bodies.  What is my connection to the earth?  I came across Emily Kendal Frey’s poem, My Definition of Rape.  What is my definition of rape?

II. Create Dangerously

Melissa reminded me of Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, which she’s been reading and I completely forgot I owned.  I read the first chapter last night, and much of what she writes about in regards to lineage resonates with me:

“…the artist immigrant, or immigrant artist, inevitably ponders the deaths that brought her here, along with the deaths that keep her here, the deaths from hunger and executions and cataclysmic devastation at home, the deaths from paralyzing chagrin in exile, and the other small, daily deaths in between.”

The small, daily deaths in between.  “I’ve sacrificed so much for you to grow up here,” the immigrant parent says.  Danticat cites the Colonel’s wife in Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: “If I have to die for the rest of you to stay here…then I will die.”  I spoke with my friend Angel about the lives of our ancestors, and how are they living through us now?  I’ve just finished Daytripper, a graphic novel by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.  The protagonist states: “We carry our family with us.”

III. Workshop
I’ve also decided to take an online poetry workshop with Toronto-based poet, Hoa Nguyen.  The workshop itself is focused on the work of Alice Notley, which is new to me.  I’ve never taken a class dedicated to the work of a single poet, so I’m excited to delve into her oeuvre.  I want to keep reading widely and diversely, and I’m hoping that this workshop will help.

IV. Fun

I also want to use this time to catch up on handwritten correspondences, brush up on my arroz caldo and chicken adobo recipes, write for 3-4 hours at a time, and hike.

All of this is to say, I’m grateful.

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Filed under summer, writing process

Brunching with Poetry

Yesterday morning, I ate bacon, lime-spiced papaya, fresh scones, and lox on a jalapeño and cheddar bagel at LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Writing and Power)’s first Poetry Brunch, hosted by the wonderful Alanna Lin.

I underestimate the power of fun at times.

Participants and readers (myself included) gorged themselves on a delicious, home-cooked meal an hour or two before “getting down to business.” Which didn’t feel like business. Poetry isn’t business! But it feels this way, before I do a reading sometimes — why?

Jamie Asaye Fitzgerald and I were the featured readers. Prior to our readings, everyone at the event, around 20 people, shared five-line poems at the mic. I dig this kind of community building in a reading format; everyone eating, drinking coffee and sharing their work. By the time I got up to the mic, the reading was among friends, haiku-writers, and brunch-lovers unbuttoning the top button of their pants.

***

I am teaching Introduction to Poetry this coming year. I am trying to remember any “formal” introduction I’ve experienced. In the sixth grade for the poetry unit, I had to interview my best friend as Gwendolyn Brooks who dressed like her (knit cap, large glasses). Does this count?

My first workshop in college wasn’t pleasant. There were little to no poets-of-color on the reading list. I didn’t speak Workshop Language yet. I was skeptical and grouchy, the newness of first winter in New York wearing off.

How were you introduced to poetry? How did poetry introduce itself to you?

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Summer Slouch AKA I don’t want this blog to die…

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

I have been thinking about blogging a lot lately but thinking isn’t the same as doing. Still, here I am.

I want to talk about the past year in the EM-EFF-AY (OH-EM-GEE), my experience at the VONA Voices Workshop, the progress of the manuscript/s (plural maybe?), some projects/goals I am working towards (a YA book, an anthology on Asian American mythologies, fixing up a paper on Lynda Barry and J. Torres for the upcoming MLA Conference)…which I will write about soon.

For now, I leave you with this …

*An incredible manifesto by the fabulous Ching-In Chen on the Doveglion Press website (curated by the equally awesome Barbara Jane Reyes and Oscar Bermeo).  Read it!

And my ever-growing Summer 2011 Reading List:

*Names Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz  — I’m finally getting to Oliver’s first collection, and falling in love with Fidelito, a boy who longs to fly.

*Steady, My Gaze by Marie-Elizabeth Mali — who will be on The Blood-Jet next Tuesday!  I’m excited to talk with her about her first book.

*Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories From The United States and Latin America edited by Robert Shapard, James Thomas and Ray Gonzalez — I just read the first story, “White Girl” by Luis Alberto Urrea; explosive, haunting, and I wish it were longer!

*Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor —  I love witches!  And I get so excited about writers of color who write “genre” fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi.  This YA books is by and about a young Nigerian girl with powers.  Check out this list by Adriel Luis who compiled “The Ultimate 21st Century Guide People of Color List” on Colorlines Magazine.

*and one more (a guilty read)…Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin — Because I loved the show on HBO so much, I needed to find out what happened next!  And then I found out there are 4-5 thickass, 1,000 page books that follow. I don’t know if I should keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

What are YOU reading this summer?

oh, and p.s. I have a poem, “Litany for Silence,” on the Splinter Generation website.  If you wish, please read.

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Filed under currently reading, summer, YA