post-kundiman reflections


sad that the weekend is coming to an end. but i feel completely inspired by the poets i was around this weekend. first, the uc berkeley reading on thursday. i loved how collaborative the event felt–so many different folks from various groups coming together to make the event happen: the kundiman poets, pawa, achiote press, asian american studies, asian pacific american working group & all the individuals who showed up early to help set up.

the reading itself was awesome! such a talented mix with such eclectic energies. i also loved that they all spoke about how much kundiman meant to them and how much they wanted to give back to the organization–thru fundraiser readings, thru spreading the word. one of my favorite stories was from Debbie Yee, who mentioned that one of poems she wrote on the way to kundiman–like at the airport or something–would eventually be chosen for the Best American Poetry 2009 anthology!

the emcee for the reading–and the main organizer of the reading–was the amazing & talented kundiman fellow Margaret Rhee (who’s a poet, activist, filmmaker, and scholar in the ethnic studies department as well). she also co-edited the achiote press fundraiser anthology, which will be announced here very, very soon.

i want to mention Margaret here also because she is presenting a paper at the ADVANCING FEMINIST POETICS and ACTIVISM conference in NEW YORK CITY this week. so all of you who are going to the conference should check her out and say hello. here’s the info:


Room 4 [Panel 10]:
Disrupting the Page: Hybridity and Asian American Poetics
Chair: Tamiko Beyer
Panelists: Cythia Arrieu-King, Ching-In Chen, Sarah Gambito, Sohan Patel, Margaret Rhee
Description: This roundtable discussion by a group of emerging APIA women poets/critics/performers will open up discussion about how hybridities in current APIA poetry resist the notion of a homogenous feminist and APIA poetry and community. Speakers will address a range of contemporary formal and social concerns: mapping, the cyber avatar, queer, experimental and lyric poetry, “deterriorialized” writing, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s video poems, traditional Japanese zuihitsu. The goal is to provide a collaborative space in which to investigate the avant-garde poetic strategies of APIA women who write for social justice and against inequalities.


on saturday, i actually missed the pawa reading cuz i had car trouble (car is still in shop). but, i did make it to the afterparty at Debbie’s house in san francisco. she & her husband made delicious roasted chicken and there was lots of wine! many other west coast kundiman fellows were there too (tho i didnt catch everyone’s names). and barbara jane & oscar were there too! was a pleasure to be able to chat more with ching-in chen & joseph legaspi–tho i didnt get to talk with oliver de la paz as much.

anyhoo, so much inspiration & so much community.


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