MARK YOUR CALENDARS: ACHIOTE PRESS & KUNDIMAN READING 9/17/09 at UC BERKELEY

Dear Friends of Achiote Press,

You are invited to Part 1 of an exciting poetry reading and collaboration between Achiote Press, PAWA, & Kundiman:

Readers: Joseph O Legaspi, Oliver de la Paz, Ching-In Chen, Debbie Yee, and Neil Aitken

Where: UC Berkeley at the Barbara T. Christian Room, 554 Barrows Hall
When: Thursday, Sept 17th
Time: 11:30: Chapbook & Book Sale and Light Reception // 12 – 2: Reading

UC Berkeley Campus Map (Barrows is in D4 quadrant of map): http://berkeley.edu/map/maps/large_map.html

This reading celebrates the publication of Achiote Press’ newest chapbook-anthology: “Here is a Pen:” An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets, edited by Ching-In Chen, Margaret Rhee, and Debbie Yee (the cover is pictured above)

Chapbooks will be available for purchase at the reading. All proceeds will go to Kundiman.

Kundiman is a dynamic arts organization dedicated to fostering Asian American poetry. As part of their mission, Kundiman provides a retreat for emerging Asian American poets at the University of Virginia every summer.

Special thanks to: UC Berkeley’s Asian American Studies Program & Asian Pacific Islander Working Group

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Reader Bios:

Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of Imago (CavanKerry Press), winner of a 2008 Global Filipino Literary Award. Born in the Philippines, he currently resides in Manhattan and works at Columbia University. A graduate of New York University’s Creative Writing Program, recent works appeared in Callaloo, North American Review, Poets & Writers, New York Theater Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gay & Lesbian Review and the anthology Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton). A recipient of a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and an Urban Artists grant, he co-founded Kundiman (www.kundiman.org), a non-profit organization serving Asian American poets. Visit him at www.josepholegaspi.com.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three books of poetry, NAMES ABOVE HOUSES, FURIOUS LULLABY (Southern Illinois University Press), and the forthcoming book REQUIEM FOR THE ORCHARD which was selected by Martin Espada as the winner of the 2009 University of Akron Poetry Prize and will be available in the Spring of 2010. He is a recipient of grants from the Artist Trust of Washington and from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He teaches creative writing at Western Washington University and is the co-chair of the Advisory Board for Kundiman.

Debbie Yee is a trusts and estates attorney, Kundiman fellow, arts enthusiast and crafts explorer. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, OCHO, Fence and The Best American Poetry 2009. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from UC Berkeley. Debbie blogs irregularly at www.debbieyee.com.

Neil Aitken is the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review and the author of The Lost Country of Sight, winner of the 2007 Philip Levine Prize. His poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Drunken Boat, Ninth Letter, Sou’wester and many other literary journals. He lives in Los Angeles where he is currently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic and a multi-genre, border-crossing writer. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she is a Kundiman, Macondo and Lambda Fellow. A community organizer, she has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston. Her work has been recently published in journals such as BorderSenses, Rio Grande Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, OCHO, Iron Horse Literary Review, Water~Stone Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Verdad and the anthology Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves. A co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist Communities, forthcoming from South End Press, Ching-In is currently in the process of editing an anthology on gender, militarism and war from the perspective of women and non-gender-conforming people of color. In Riverside, California, Ching-In is a member of the Save Our Chinatown Committee, a grassroots organization focused on the preserving the archaelogical heritage of Riverside Chinatown.

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Part 2 of our collaboration features another wonderful poetry reading on Saturday, September 19th. Details here:
http://pawainc.blogspot.com/2009/09/pawa-arkipelago-reading-series-saturday.html

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anthologies and the politics of exclusion

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so i havent read the anthology AMERICAN HYBRID, but am curious about all the criticism around its publication.

most recently are the following comments, posted over at francisco aragon’s blog here. the comments are from “A Poetics of Suspicion: Chicano/a Poetry and the New” (a dialogue) by J. Michael Martinez and Jordan Windholz, forthcoming in Puerto del Sol:

On a more basic level, one must have a politically and economically viable identity in order to willingly lose it, to throw it to the wind. Those that say for aesthetic reasons that identity is dead, fragmented, or passé, often have a viable identity they do not need to worry about. Being invisible or visible as a white male is quite different than being invisible or visible as a Chicano. This invisibility itself speaks to a broader symptom in the poetics of the “new.” The invisibility of identity is a symptom of a broader ideological construction: that of the exclusion of Chicana/o voices in the broader cultural hierarchy. This is not a categorical absolute. Rather, it is a fact of this particular moment in US culture. The exclusion of a representative Chicana/o and Latina/o voices (Rodrigo Toscano, Lorna Dee Cervantes, and even Juan Felipe Herrera arguably fulfill the publication and aesthetic criteria ) in American Hybrid (and other such “avantist” anthologies) is symptomatic of this broader ideological exclusion and social disparity.

The historical result is what comes to be known as “official verse culture,” “the School of Quietude,” or simply “conservative” verse is in fact a nebulous space that can only be defined in the negative, by what it is not (as is the case for “avant” traditions). More, because “innovative” poetics resist and reject any sense of singularity, the narrative lyric—a form with which many foundational Chicana/o poets identify due to its ability to affirm identity while also lineating that identity’s experience—is summarily rejected, as it smacks of old romanticism. The result is a type of political hijacking on the avant-garde’s part. On one hand, the American avant-garde aligns itself with the disenfranchised in that it too resists perceived dominant culture. On the other hand, it rejects the very forms of representation by which “minority” poets largely speak.

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puerto del sol has become quite a great publication–i saw their last issue at AWP (achiote press’ table was right across from their table) and i’m excited to get the upcoming issue–carmen gimenez smith has done a great job with the journal.

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i also want to draw your attention to oscar bermeo’s comment in the box of francisco’s blog:

Well said. I also found the “Hybrid” anthology to be lacking as well, a collection that offer a plurality of voices but instead seeks to limit the definitions of what new poetry can be.

I’m also wondering if Chicana/o and Latina/o voices are excluded from such Avant anthologies because Ethnic poetry is lumped into the reactionary category where Avant would like to consider itself ahead of current trends?

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what do you think of this unfolding discussion? i ask because i am going to be on a panel at AWP called “Hybrid Aesthetics and Its Discontents”–and i imagine this anthology will be brought up.

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Stephen Vincent’s Haptics

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i heart stephen vincent’s ink haptics, but check out this new project of his!

an excerpt:

The haptic mark – in whatever form it takes – gives us a rendering of a sensual apprehension of space.The marks it makes are fluid. Within any combination of marks we witness the incisions of a particular history. The group of wrinkles in an aging persons face, or the apparent cracks and scars on the bark of a tree’s trunk. These incisions – these haptics – are one of the ways in which we may publicly and intimately witness the pace, rhythm, the shape and character of an historical record. An event’s scripture, its autobiography, if you will.

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What happened on Saturday: Studio One Reading

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last night, i went to the Studio One Reading in Oakland, featuring poets Gillian Hamel & Truong Tran. it was great to hear Gillian read again (we’ve read together once before) and it was awesome to hear truong again–who i’ve heard many times and who has my teacher during mfa. one thing different about this reading is that truong read from 3 different books! pretty cool to hear some of the older work aloud.

i love the Studio One Reading Space (pictured below)…there was a full, and i mean FULL, house (like 50 people or so). and lots of tasty wines and good people. thanks to sara mumolo for putting together such a great series–and also great to see clayton banes, who is now a part of the team there.

the next Studio One Reading: Brenda Hillman & Giovanni Singleton!

some pics:



(note: yes, that’s oscar bermeo sitting right in front of me. he pretty much goes to all the readings that i go to and he sits right in front of me just to ruin my pictures!)

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interview with truong tran

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read this fantastic interview with truong tran & lucas rivera.

excerpt:

Truong Tran: Coming to terms with language means that I’m coming to terms with the politics of language and the politics of writing. In my twenties, I had stories to tell and endings to arrive at. I thought I was being authentic but in fact I was writing into an expectation of who I should be as a writer. I don’t regret responding to those expectations. I was expected to deliver the boat story and in a way I did just that. I am less inclined to do so now that I’m 40. I’m bored of that familiar story of identity. This is not to say that my writing is no longer about identity. I write what I know and imagine what I do not know. My identity will always be embedded in that equation. It’s just that identity is far more complicated at 40 as opposed to my twenties. I’ve given myself the permission to be private in my writing. Part of my writing process now is to take meaning back. The experiential component of my work is private. It is mine and mine alone. What the reader gets from this engagement is entirely theirs. Is this what you mean when you talk about accessibility? I would never write in an effort to exclude but I am more private these days.

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thanks to those who commented on the first ever Author Webpage Battle! it was very informative…and i’d say the battle ended in a tie–so both tina & victoria are winners! congrats to you both. join us next week for Battle #2.

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Wednesday’s Author Website Wars: Tina Chang vs. Victoria Chang

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perhaps you remembered that i reviewed this book (one of whose editors is tina chang) at rain taxi. ron silliman linked to my review here. beneath that link is a link to a fantastic talk with victoria chang.

so, i ended up googling tina & victoria since i am unfamiliar with their work (will someone send me copies of their books please). and wouldn’t you know it they both have websites. i’ve been thinking some about author websites and checking out other authors’ webpages–mainly since i don’t have one. and i def want to build one when/if my second book gets published.

thus, every wednesday on this blog i will be pitting two author websites against each other. your job: tell me which one you like better and why. or, if you are not into competitions, tell me one thing you like about each. or, if you havent had your morning coffee yet, tell me one thing you dont like about each. let the games begin!!!

TINA CHANG’s website here

vs.

VICTORIA CHANG’s website here

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a related question: are blogs replacing author webpages? do i need a webpage if i have a blog?

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Reading Update: Kazim Ali

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picked up Kazim Ali‘s new novel THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SETH. only about 40 pages in so will have some comments on it later. has anyone out there read any of ali’s poetry books? will anyone send me copies of his books?

in the meantime, listen to him at the fishouse here.

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you have to read this article he wrote: “Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor Becomes Terror Suspect” effed up!

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read this fantastic interview about his first book

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Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong

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finally finally finished my review of cathy park hong’s DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION (wwnorton, 2007), which won the barnard women’s poetry prize judged by adrienne rich.

what i wasnt expecting when i started this review tonight is that it would end up being 2000 words. that might be hard to get published. oh well, i love this book and really enjoyed writing about it. have you read it? you should buy it if you havent.

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read this great review of the book by Shanna Compton.

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read this interview with cathy at POETS AND WRITERS.

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read an excerpt from the book at Action, Yes Quarterly.

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