Saturday, March 22, 2008

Appearing in New Anthology!

Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond is a new anthology edited by Tina Chang, Ravi Shankar and Nathalie Handal being released this month by W. W. Norton!

I'm excited because I have work that appears inside, along with many other wonderful poets. You can order it through Amazon.

I know the editors worked very hard on the project and I'm wishing them the best of luck with it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rudolf Steiner and I

I'm taking a little time out from the interviews and other reviews I'm posting because I just found out I'm now included in the International List of Famous Waldorf Alumni for my work as an artist and writer.

This would stem from my attendance of the Rudolf Steiner School in Ann Arbor, Michigan during the mid-1980s until 1988 when I began attending the Saline Public High School.

The Waldorf education system was developed by the European intellectual Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th Century. There are so many ideas embedded into his system, but among those that stand out to many educators today are the principles of theme-based education, block scheduling, and teaching to different learning styles.

As I understand it, I was part of the first class to graduate from the Ann Arbor school.

At a personal level, some of my deepest friendships continue with my fellow alumni to this day, and many of the ideas I learned from my teachers, such as the dear Ruth Nilsson, continue to resonate within my art and writing.

I can see compelling arguments made that my years here were among the most formative on my worldview. But I'll leave that for others to debate.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled posts and contemplations of miscellany!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A 2002 Interview With Shawn Wong

Shawn Wong is the author of American Knees and the award-winning Homebase.

He is also the co-editor and editor of six Asian American and American multicultural literary anthologies including the pioneering anthology Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers, The Big Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Chinese America and Japanese America in Literature, and Literary Mosaic: Asian American Literature (HarperCollins, 1995).

He is the co-editor of Before Columbus Foundation Fiction/Poetry Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards, 1980-1990, and two volumes of contemporary American multicultural poetry and fiction (W. W. Norton, 1992).

The film version of American Knees is currently being produced by Celestial Pictures and Starz Productions.

AAP: So, which story of yours appears in Charlie Chan Is Dead 2?
"Eye Contact"

AAP: How would you describe your story to people thinking about reading it?
My story explores Asian male and female relationships, stereotypes, and racial and sexual identities.

AAP: What are some of the other projects you're currently working on?
I'm at work on my third novel which is about how people communicate through various forms such as fashion, letter writing, gardening, as well as ancient forms of communication. It's also about being an Asian American in the global community.

AAP: How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for 36 years, or since I was 18 yrs old.

AAP: What got your started in writing?
I started writing poetry first. The first poems were "gifts" for friends. I also wrote about my family.

AAP: What are some of your favorite themes to work with?
I like exploring relationships and right now I'm writing about travel.

AAP: What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
My biggest challenge is writing. It's never easy and I always try to give myself the hardest possible assignments for new projects.

AAP: How has your community responded to your work?
The Asian community and other communities have responded very, very well to my work. My work is used in Asian American studies classes, English classes, as well as other places.

AAP: Has your family been supportive of your writing?
Yes, most definitely.

AAP: What do you look for most in your own writing?

AAP: Who are some of your favorite writers?
My mentor in college was the writer, Kay Boyle. I like the works of Ishmael Reed, Edna O'Brien, Frank Chin, Jeffery Chan, Lawson Inada, Timothy Mo, Jessica Hagedorn, and many, many more.

AAP: Do you have any advice for younger writers?
Write everyday.

A 2002 Interview With Karen Tei Yamashita

Karen Tei Yamashita is a Japanese American writer from California. She lived for nine years in Brazil, the setting for her first two novels, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990), and Brazil-Maru (1992), both of which received critical acclaim. Her third novel, set in Los Angeles, Tropic of Orange (1997), and was a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize.

In the Spring of 2001, local Minnesota publisher Coffee House Press printed her fourth book, a collection of mixed genres in fiction and nonfiction, Circle K Cycles, based on her research of the Brazilian community in Japan. She is Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Asian American Press caught up with her recently to ask about her story that was recently featured in the recently released Asian American anthology, Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home In The World, edited by Jessica Hagedorn.

AAP: So, which story of yours appears in Charlie Chan Is Dead 2?
The story is titled "What if Miss Nikkei were God(dess)?" and it's a story in my book Circle K Cycles, published by Coffee House Press in 2001.

AAP: How would you describe your story to people thinking about reading it?
This story was written based on research of the Brazilian community living in Japan. Although these numbers are probably in flux, there were in the late 1990s when I was in Japan about 200,000 Brazilians, mostly migrant labor working in factories.

Miss Nikkei represents a facet of the Brazilian community come to find its future across this transnational bridge that sends about $2 billion home to Brazil each year. Of course the story is not so dry and historic.

Miss Nikkei is gorgeous and sexy however commodified.

AAP: What are some of the other projects you're currently working on?
I'm currently doing research on the Asian American Movement in the sixties and seventies.

AAP: How long have you been writing?
I guess I would say since 1975 when Amerasia Journal awarded and published my first story, "The Bath."

AAP: What got you started in writing?
I traveled to Brazil in 1975 on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to research the history and anthropology of the Japanese Brazilian community. During my travels, I found a story that I felt encompassed my project in a broad but deep way, and I began to research and interview dozens of people whose lives touched that story. The book that resulted is Brazil-Maru, published by Coffee House Press in 1992.

AAP: What are some of your favorite themes to work with?
Oh, it depends on what I'm working on. The questions come out of the work. Lately I'm thinking about memory and storytelling, about how each person accomplishes this and what it means for how and why they live their lives.

AAP: What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
Learning how to do it well and with integrity. Also working at "real" jobs, raising a family and making sure that each person in that family also realizes their own potential.

AAP: How has your community responded to your work?
Asian Americans have been very supportive, although I don't know if they actually read what I write. I think they respect and promote the work of AA writers knowing that we are underrepresented as published writers and as the subjects in history. Since my work is largely about an extended community outside of the US – the Japanese Brazilians – it may seem distant or exotic to US readers.

AAP: Has your family been supportive of your writing?
Yes, but they complain anyway to tease me. They say that when I'm really writing, they eat better and the house is cleaner. This is because my way of working through the writing is to cook and clean. At other times, they think I'm manic, and that caffeine writes my books.

AAP: What do you look for most in your own writing?
I'm not sure I understand this question. Writing seems to be this process during which you make some discoveries and lose your way most of the time.

You start out looking for something and then one thing leads to the next. The difficulty is that you have to get lost inside the labyrinth and still see the whole thing from above. It's an intellectual and creative endeavor.

Mostly I look for a good time by myself inside my mind. It's very selfish really.

AAP: Who are some of your favorite writers?
KTY: My favorite writers are my good friends: R. Zamora Linmark, Sesshu Foster, Jessica Hagedorn, Garrett Hongo.

AAP: Do you have any advice for younger writers?
KTY: Good grief, not really. Since I teach creative writing, I'm always surprised by those who read extensively and those who read very little at all despite the sometimes obvious body of work that precedes their own interest in writing.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Nod To James Hong

Today we're giving a quick nod to James Hong, a great but often overlooked Asian American actor who has been a part of some of the most memorable science fiction and fantasy films of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 22, 1929, he lives in California today, where he continues to be active in film, video games and animation.

He recently has appeared in one way or another in work such as Teen Titans, Balls of Fury, Jackie Chan Adventures and Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!
He's also a former president of the Association of Asian/Pacific American Artists (AAPAA).

But among his most memorable roles are in the films Blade Runner and Big Trouble In Little China:

You can visit his official website at: and hopefully we'll have an interview with him for you later this year!

New Vietnamese Adoptee Blog is a new blog by three of the most distinctive voices among the Vietnamese adoptee community in the United States: Sumeia Williams, Kevin Minh Allen, and Anh Dao Kolbe.

Their individual experiences and opinions regarding transcultural adoption are fascinating in and of themselves, but when read in tandem, their work provides a unique glimpse at the diversity and unity to be found in the consistently complex journey of Vietnamese adoptees.

Blogs come and go but Misplaced Baggage, if it finds it voice and can keep itself regularly updated, may quickly become 'one to watch' for 2008.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Interview With Lee Herrick

Lee Herrick in Laos

Lee Herrick is the author of This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech Editions, 2007). His poems have been published in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Many Mountains Moving, The Bloomsbury Review, MiPOesias, and others, including anthologies such as Seeds from a Silent Tree: Writings by Korean Adoptees, Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita, and the 2nd edition of Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California's Great Central Valley. He is the founding editor of the literary magazine In the Grove and teaches at Fresno City College in Fresno, California.

What are you working on these days, artistically?
Lee Herrick: I am working on a second book of poems, which is untitled at this point. It may include poems I began a few years ago in Honduras, and I hope to have a focused period of writing this summer while I am in Korea and China. I will be researching Panmunjeom (where the Korean War armistice occurred) and the DMZ, as well as some of the political history of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I also just finished a new poem with which I am pleased. It’s called “My California.”

How did you first get into writing?
LH: From the standpoint of my earliest moments of joy with the written word, I would go all the way back to the time I lived in the East Bay area in California, as a boy, when my mother would spend time in the mornings doing crossword puzzles or playing Scrabble with my grandmother. I loved how words, depending on their arrangement, had importance and even value.

On a more recent level, I had good models who inspired me indirectly to write. One of the first poets I met when I moved to Fresno was the late Chicano poet Andrés Montoya, who won the American Book Award posthumously. He was instrumental, as were many other poets. I also started a literary magazine called In the Grove that helped me get a sense of the (often unpleasant) business side of it all. And, I should say that when I entered poetry and when I have re-discovered it again and again, music is almost always at the center. Music and poetry have the ability to mitigate despair and remind us of the beauty everywhere, despite the violence and trauma of the human experience.

What's the biggest challenge for you as a writer?
LH: It’s all a challenge, isn’t it? I’ve never known how to answer this question because truth be told it’s all a struggle---finding the time to write, the fact that I often just want to read and walk through the mountains or on the beach---but as much as these can obstruct writing, they are conversely very important and necessary to my writing process. I need the distractions, the challenges. The best things in life involve some time and work, right? A poem is no different, so I really don’t think in terms of “challeges.”

Has your family been supportive of your writing?
LH: They’ve always been extremely supportive. My wife is often the person I will read a poem to first when I think it’s done. She has a very good ear.

My daughter is only two and a half, but I read poems to her sometimes, and she says, “por-tree!” My sister and father were always supportive and come to a lot of my readings, and my mother was a big inspiration. She is an award-wining painter, so I’ve been around great art all my life.

What role has music played in your creative process?
LH: Music has been integral. Nietzsche said “Life without music would be a mistake,” and I agree. There are many poems in my book about music---Sarah Chang the violinist, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, and poems like “A Thousand Saxophones,” “Adoption Music,” and “The Violinist” all circulate around music.

There is not much more in life I enjoy than good live music, and I often have my iPod going when I work on early drafts of poems. I also think it’s important to breathe in the music of our surroundings, the small sounds of the street, the kitchen, an angry bird, how water sounds.

Who's on your reading list these days?
These days I am reading and re-reading Kim Sunée, Sun Yung Shin, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Li-Young Lee, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Barbara Jane Reyes, Joseph Legaspi, Kevin Gonzalez, Ben Lerner, and Philip Levine.

Do you have any advice for emerging writers?
LH: Read as much as you can, both classic and contemporary, across cultures. As much you might think about publication, try to simply be free and enjoy poetry on a musical or visceral level. Be yourself. Be respectful. Work hard and have faith in your work. I would also encourage that person to get out of his or her comfort zone.

Take a trip to somewhere in the world you’ve never been—-or, and this is often just as fruitful---experience the beauty of your immediate surroundings in a new way, the bird yapping on the telephone wire, how the food from the kitchen reminds you of love, the shape of your hands. I imagine there’s poetry in it all.

As for the business side, try to find joy all the phases---pre-book things, book manuscript things, post-book things: press, readings, interviews, signings. Breathe well. Listen for the next song.

You can visit Lee Herrick at

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unusual Museums To See

Hey, fellow globetrotters! I love visiting the art museums of different cities I see around the world, but sometimes we need something a little different, right? :) 

So, for my fellow travelers here are 9 museums that are a little more off the beaten path:

1. The Meguro Parasitological Museum: Tokyo, Japan. Wow. 45,000+ creepy-crawlers who live in, on and with other organisms. From 27 foot-long tapeworms to images of men with elephantisis in um... awkward body parts, and more lice, mites, mosquitoes and miscellaneous critters than you can shake a stick at.

If you want to read up ahead of time, check out this archived Mentlal Floss article at Neatorama.Com on 6 horrifying parasites.

2. The Spam Museum: Up here in Austin, Minnesota, you can visit a museum dedicated entirely to Spam. 16,500 square feet dedicated to one of the strangest and most enduring meat products of the 20th century. With lots of recipes and trivia galore, who could ask for anything more?

3. The Museum of Bad Art: Dedham, Massachusetts gives the middle finger to Picassos and Mondrians here!  This isn't just mediocre art, but visual atrocities with a 'special quality that sets them apart in one way or another from the merely incompetent.' 

The exhibits are constantly rotating, but wonders like 'Pablo Presley' and 'Sunday On The Pot With George' or 'Jerez The Clown.' 

There are some who might not deserve to be immortalized here, but there are many pieces who make more than a good case for themselves. Judge for yourself.

4. The Songkran Niyomsane Museum of Forensic Medicine: Bangkok, Thailand. When you're tired of Golden Buddhas and the Emerald Palace or sidetrips to the other tourist traps, you can stop here, especially if you're interested in seeing where Thai CSI studies.

The museum is a little creepy to some visitors, but the good doctor pioneered forensics in Thailand with some pretty vivid exhibits.

It's not for the squeamish, but you can see everything from the preserved corpse of a Chinese cannibal to the body of the good Dr. Songkran himself.

5. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets: If you're in New Delhi, India, you can see the brainchild of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, who was a pioneer of Indian sanitation.

From electric chamber pots to French commodes disguised as bookcases, you can see over 4,500 amazing years of the lavatory!

Which leads us strangely back to Texas to:

6. The Toilet Seat Art Museum  I'm pretty sure some of the entries here in Alamo Heights, Texas will eventually end up at the MOBA but if you've ever wanted to see 700 'artistically' decorated toilet seat covers, here's your chance.

Ok. I can't even begin to imagine how much therapy these poor kids needed after their teacher took them on a field trip here. But let's move on.

7. The Icelandic Phallological Museum: I have no idea how Reykjavik, Iceland came to be the home to this shrine to the male member, but they've gathered over 150 specimens of masculine pride and preserved testicles representing species from polar bears to whales.

No humans, as of yet, although they have received a legally certified offer from a dude who has promised his privates to them upon his demise. There's even been a wedding here.

8. Museo De Las Momias: Taking a stop through Mexico and tired of Senor Frog and tequila? Make your way over to Guanajuato and see the famous Public Museum of Mummified Citizens with over 100 preserved bodies on display.

This museum exists because of a unique law in this part of Mexico: Graves in the local cemetery have to be rented every five years, unless you buy the grave with a HUGE lump sum. No rent, your body gets exhumed and disposed of to make way for new arrivals. Or you might find yourself here.

If you're stuck in Europe, you can make a trip to the Catacomb dei Cappuccini in Palermo, Italy, instead.

A little less gruesome, we can go to:

9. The Hair Museum: Who needs to see the Hagia Sophia when you can make a stop to the city of Avanos, Turkey and see the vision of Turkish potter Galip Korukcu, who thought starting the Hair Museum would help promote his ceramics workshops.

Yeah, natural connection.

Anyway, this master of public relations has amassed an astonishing collection of over 16,000 samples from around the world of women's hair, carefully hung in the cave and it's now a part of the Guiness Book of World Records. And if you want, you can even donate.

The man:

His vision:


And there you have it! What unusual museums have YOU found in your travels?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A 2003 Interview With Marilyn Chin

As a quick update: Marilyn Chin was named a 2007 USA Hoi Fellow by United States Artists, an arts advocacy organization dedicated to the support and promotion of America's arts and culture. The following is an interview I did with her 5 years ago for Asian American Press.

A 2003 Interview With Marilyn Chin

Marilyn Chin is the author of Dwarf Bamboo and The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty. Her new book Rhapsody in Plain Yellow was published by Norton in 2002. Her books have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms nationally. She has won numerous awards for her poetry, including two NEAs, the Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, four Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan, residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Lannan Residency, the Djerassi Foundation and others.

She is featured in a variety of anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Unsettling America, The Open Boat, and The Best American Poetry of l996. She was featured in Bill Moyers’ PBS series The Language of Life. She co-directs the MFA program at San Diego State University. Presently, she is a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard.

AAP: What are some of the other projects you're currently working on?
I'm working on a book of poetic tales. In fact, I've been working on this book for ten years. Of course, I'm also working on poems...I'm always trying something new...poetry is a rich banquet and most poets only tap into a very small range of the possibilities...

AAP: How long have you been writing?
I would have to admit that I started to feel the urge in my senior year in college. But, only after I published my first book did I feel like a real poet...

AAP: What got your started in writing?
My undergrad degree was in Classical Chinese literature. It was through my bumbling efforts at translating the Tang dynasty poets that really got me addicted to poetry. Then, of course, I love reading poetry. Even as a young child, I preferred rhymes over stories. Then, there was my grandmother who chanted Chinese poetry every day...Many forces worked in collusion to create this poet....

AAP: What are some of your favorite themes to work with?
Love, death, god? That would be my wise-ass answer. But, I always write from my subject position: which is a Chinese American minority poet, born in the Chinese diaspora of Hong a poor family...all roads and themes are built from my personal experience...and, believe me there is a lot to write about...

AAP: What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
To keep things be courageous against the outer world...It's kind of an archaic, rarified thing--to be a poet...and I must make every moment and word meaningful and relevant...

AAP: How has your community responded to your work?
"Community" is a non-static, borderless concept for me. I just gave a reading in Manchester, England, for instance. Some young white girls in the audience were upset at my reading of "Moon." They didn't like my pointing at them, implicating them for the demise of the protagonist. But, then, a young man came up to me and confessed—everything, how his father was a brute, how he was once a racist and must now change his evil ways...I believe in Brecht's ideas that literature and performance must engage the audience and must work toward social change...

I think that the "communities" have been generous to me. Poets and Profs. have been teaching my books in their MFA classes. Young Asian American writers have emailed me fan letters...I can't complain, I've received plenty of love...

AAP: Has your family been supportive of your writing?
My mother and grandmother are gone now. Well, they tolerated my weirdness and were pleased that I had a tenured job and didn't become a bag lady.

My sister is very supportive...staunchly so, don't say anything bad about me in front of will get a serious tongue lashing...

AAP: What do you look for most in your own writing?
I believe in making memorable, well-written work. This sounds incredibly obvious...So, obvious that it has eluded many writers of late....

AAP: Who are some of your favorite writers?
Depends whom I'm reading at the moment. The list is too grand to name. Right now, I'm reading Neruda. Yesterday, I was reading Marianne Moore. The day before, Kafka...Last week, it was Ovid, Tu Fu, Emily Dickinson...I just keep reading...and appreciating...I keep feeling exhilarated when I read something wonderful...

AAP: Your poetic work has strong influences from traditional fables and folklore. Do you find your short stories sharing those same influences?

Yes, I love fables, parables, old folk tales that have a moral overtone. I guess I love standing on the soapbox, prosletysing and pontificating...

AAP: How would you describe your writing process these days?
I am finishing up my wonderful year at the Radcliffe Institute. I spend hours in the various Harvard libraries, just reading. I can't remind young writers enough...about the necessities of reading widely. I have been going to lectures and events of my sister scholars and scientists...and have been thinking about issues from immigration to chaos theory to astro-physics...

It has been a wonderful year. And, of course, I have been writing in coffee shops all over Cambridge...and sometimes I stay in my office until 1 am, playing my c.d.s and working on polishing my tales and answering inquiring minds like your own...

AAP: What's the best compliment you've received about your work?
Presently, that I know of, there are three fairly long, comprehensive essays on my work that I think are quite remarkable: one by the feminist theorist Adrienne McCormick, one by the poet and Pound scholar John Gery, another by the Chinese American scholar Dorothy Wang. They all frame their arguments differently. I am thankful for their hard work.

I appreciate the fact that they took a long time to contemplate my work and to offer a serious and fulsome reading of it...Most scholars have a fear and loathing of poetry and can't deal with it...but the above mentioned scholars were so thorough and brilliant that I learned immensely from them...There are other scholars who have been writing about me from time to time...and I appreciate their attention as well...We poets need a lot of love!

AAP: Do you have a favorite piece that you've written that you felt was historically under-appreciated?
MC: That's a good question. I'm supposed to say that I love all my children equally. However, I would like to ask poetry fans and scholars to look at my long poems...They're difficult to write and I always feel a sense of great achievement after having finished them. It's like giving birth to a very very large child.

AAP: How do you know when a poem or a short story is finished?
MC: Good question. Sometimes, I don't know that they are finished, therefore, they'll stay in the drawer longer. This is why it takes me approximately 7 years to publish a book. I don't want to publish work that is not fully realized, or that I'm not satisfied with. I approach short lyrics, long poems and tales--all with an eye for precision and compression...I need to feel that almost every syllable is perfect...

AAP: Many Asian American authors have cited Kafka as a larger, more immediate influence on their own writing, more so than many of the classic American authors we see being taught in schools today. Why do you think this is so?
MC: Kafka was an anomaly and an outsider...he wrote in German, which was a minority language in Prague...He was a Jew in a predominately Christian society...He was also listening to his own drummer and didn't give a damn what the mainstream world was doing...He also died before his 41st birthday. Otherwise, he would have been gassed with some of his family members. "Metamorphoses" in my estimation, is one of the best novels ever written. It's very compressed, beautifully structured, no wasted paragraphs...this is truly a poet's novel. And to have a Cockroach as the "outsider" can one be? How emasculated. dehumanized and disenfranchised...Truly it's a great allegory for our predicament as minorities in American society...

AAP: Where do you see the direction of Asian American writing going in the coming decades ahead?
MC: I feel absolutely optimistic. I believe that there are more Asian Americans writing than ever. I have been meeting a lot of young, enthusiastic writers...I hope that they keep the faith.

AAP: Do you have any advice for younger writers?
MC: You must keep reading....and practicing...It's all about the art, baby...
Don't rush to get published if your work is not ready. You don't want to be the one-trick pony. Don't be greedy; somebody will give you your fifteen minutes... Be a good person. Be kind to orphans. My grandmother always said "Don’t forget the art of being human."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A 2001 Interview With Xue Di

In The Name of Poetry: An Interview With Xue Di
Originally published in 2001 by Asian American Press, St. Paul, MN. Picture by John Foraste.
Xue Di by John Foraste
Interviewer's Introduction:Xue Di is a native of Beijing. After taking part in the demonstrations in Tian'anmen Square, he left China and became a fellow in Brown University's Freedom to Write program in 1990.

Xue Di has published several books of poems, contributed to many magazines, and is further known as an anthologist and critic. His books include Flames (paradigm press, 1995), Heart Into Soil (Burning Deck / Lost Roads), Circumstances (Duration, 2000) and An Ordinary Day (Alice James Books, 2001). This interview was conducted shortly after the release of An Ordinary Day.

AAP: Tell us a few things about your latest book An Ordinary Day. What are some of the major issues and themes you address with this book? Do you feel your style has changed any since your previous collection, Heart Into Soil?
XD: This book is about understanding of societies, the ones that we are part of but fighting and complaining about, building and re-building all the time. It is about understanding a journey of my inner life, covered by daily details and layers of emotion, a record of visioning outwards—in contrast to when I lived in a communist society and was visioning inwards—as I live in a free country. It is about understanding the connections and knots within a man in relation to societies and time.

The last eight poems in An Ordinary Day besides “Love in Difficulty” were written later than the poems in Heart Into Soil. They are tighter and jump more, poems break into many more stanzas and each line is shorter.

I thought this style presented much more clarity to imply that I am in a higher state to gaze at life, I am living in a much clearer stage internally, to write poetry and to live. I took away the logical connections between lines, so there is emptiness from line to line, from stanza to stanza.

But the emptiness in fact is fullness, is the space where the reader can soar and fly, then gain. I did this in writing technology and deeper understanding of poetry: The greater is less explicitly verbal; the higher stage requires clarity on the part of the writer. This development reflects several years of thinking and an honest experiencing of life. The changing of style represents the movement from my earlier time in this country to the present. In poetry, the shift is from long and crowded lines to short and clear lines.

AAP: Do you have any other major projects coming up soon?
XD: I just finished a collection of love poems entitled “Another Kind of Tenderness.” The first part of the collection is a long love poem entitled “Cat’s Eye in a Splintered Mirror”, which is dedicated to my girlfriend; the second half consists of a series of single love poems written at different times in my life. The manuscript is bilingual in English and Chinese. I am currently looking for a publisher for this work.

AAP: What does it mean to be a poet?
XD: To listen to one's own inner voice; to live with conscience and perception; to be sensitive to the connections between all kinds of life forms; to be able to touch the core and essence things. To be honest and courageous; to be decent; to be kind and sympathetic; to be inward, connective, impulsive; to be in nature; to be solitary. To be ready to be poor and less noticeable; to be ready to sacrifice in the name of poetry.

AAP: What do you see as the poetic concerns of Asians writing in America?
XD: I haven’t widely read poems written by Asian American writers, so I cannot talk too much about their concerns. But as an Asian writer living in this country, I keep myself close to my culture and my tradition. I do the best to develop my writing into and from this tradition.

This sense of relationship is similar to my living situation in the United States. I love this country and respect it; I am enjoying my stay very much. But I am very conscious that I am Chinese, that I have my own culture and understanding of living; that I have to make my character clear. Then and only then can I enjoy and absorb this powerful culture, and possibly benefit from it.

Otherwise, I will be swallowed and disappear, as a man, as a writer. And my poems also record this spiritual process. So, as an Asian writer to living in the United States, I have so many things and sensations to write about. Besides Chinese culture, there is American culture, and then there are the many cultures of the world, all of them mixing together as one. So I am dealing with it and keeping myself clear and deep, but it’s a difficult job. This basically represents my poetic concerns of an Asian writing in America.

AAP: You've stated in the past that the duty of poets in despotic countries is to "denounce and oppose injustice and inhumanity." In your experience, what have been the more effective ways poets have done this?
XD: Poetry cannot change the reality. In most situations, poetry cannot justify one unfair event. But poetry has its power and force to influence people’s thinking, to direct people’s consciousness and conscience, to cause people to react to every act of unfairness and inhumanity. Like water, fire and wind, poems seep through the cracks and take over the flatness. They come and then disappear. But you see the result. Facing injustice and inhumanity, the poet cries and shouts, and uses his or her pen to fight.

Individually, poets have always been defeated and persecuted by the society and systems, but their efforts and sacrifices have created a force, a way and direction of thinking within the human sphere. That thinking causes fear in governments and rulers and also threatens their authority, yet this eventually mixes with action and the pursuits of people. This happened in my country, in Russia, in Poland, and in many nations. And the power of poetry becomes the history of continuation in these nations, to live, to cultivate and to strengthen people.

So, the most effective way poets have used to denounce and oppose injustice and inhumanity in despotic countries is to sacrifice themselves, individually and in groups, to wake people up and pass on their weapons of words. Poets are highly respected in these countries, poetry is holy. Poets live, write, suffer, die all in the name of poetry.

AAP: Do you feel poets have a particular duty in countries where they have freedom to write?
XD: Yes, poets have a duty to take on in countries where they have freedom to write. In countries which grant freedom to its citizens, it does not necessarily mean that people are free. Oppression takes different forms to suffocate people. It could present itself in a political way or in a material way. It could be a prison for all the politically conscious people in one country, or a bank account to countless driven, overworked people in another.

Poets should and must be able to see, and to denounce and oppose materialistic oppression in free countries and also denounce other objects worshipped and pursued by people as passing trends. Poets have to be in front of the crowds to point out where are they going, and where they are supposed to be going for humanity.

This is the duty poets must undertake. Poets must have this understanding and sense of urgency, and ability. It requires the poet to stand on a different stage from the crowd, and elevate, and deepen his or her being. The poet must be internally pure and then can project the vibration of a higher plane.

In countries where they have freedom to write, poets live and write in solitude; they might be poor and be unnoticed, all in the name of poetry.

AAP: There have been some who've detected loneliness within your poetry, while others feel that your work is concentrating on an inward journey through your work. How do you view your writing?
XD: While I was six, my parents divorced and then both abandoned me. I lived in a dormitory alone and struggled to survive. In the meantime, The Cultural Revolution spread through the whole country, and the nation was lost and turbulent. I detested and was confused about my personal life and my delirious country. I stayed alone, to read, to dream, to write. The suffering life in my early years absorbed much loneliness and madness and sadness.

The loneliness and solitude have accompanied my growth, and have sent me to a path that a poet would be on. This might be the reason that you say: “There have been some who've detected loneliness within your poetry.”

Loneliness is the nutrition and a living house for an artist. It absolutely helps an artist to perceive and to concentrate; it shines in the dark for a poet; it feels like a lingering melody. Then in 1990 I came to the United States. The living conditions and objects that I used to fight for to achieve a better life vanished, disappeared. I used to fight as a way of life: fight with the government, fight with society, fight with oppression and fear. I saw my life and identified myself through fighting.

In a free country with fairly executed democracy, there was nothing there for me to fight against to identify my value, there were no political restraints and no cause to fight. I was lost. I couldn’t see myself. I realize that the living circumstances in a despotic country caused so many artists who are brave and moral, who are so respectable but know too little of their inner worlds.

We barely look inside, we believe everything is caused by society and the communist system. There is no need for introspection and contemplation, the living conditions are so inhumane and poor that we blame nothing on ourselves. We know how to send the energy out, how to outwardly move ourselves and engage in living. There is hardly a journey inward, we have to survive first.

I realized all these things in my early years in the U.S. and started to focus inwardly. I rethought my achievements as a writer and revalued my knowledge of living. I went through a scorching self-analysis with pain and fear, fear that I would be no one, and I wasn’t sure how far and where I could go.

However, I also went through this with joy and gratefulness, grateful to my new living circumstances, to hear voices inside and rising, to feel so much more light cutting through and shining on my journey, to know I am going somewhere I should be going.

Therefore, I think inwardness is an attitude and an approach toward life. It is a choice to lead a life of intelligence and spirit. It is sincere and has abundant goodness. It directs energy inward, rather than expanding it outward; it finds a challenge in uplifting life to a new height. It is an attitude of seeing self’s mistakes, of recognizing them and moving on.

This attitude changes the way one writes poetry. Poems become cleaner; attention is more focused; the voice of spirit comes through more in the poems. Poems connect with the thinking of the classical poets, presenting language that is far-reaching, and imbued with wisdom. This kind of writing has well-rooted solidity. You feel the underlying part of these poems settling deeper, circulating in areas of depth.

At the same time, the thrust of the poem is uplifting, arriving at a new level. It leads us along to a new height. Up there it is clean and easeful. Going inward is an arduous project, it is not a process of going along with impulse. But you can always see light above, and you don’t give up. You can feel the light running through your days of writing poems.

Author's note: Another Kind Of Tenderness eventually found a publisher with Litmus Press in 2004.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

An Interview with Anthem Salgado

Anthem Salgado is a multi-disciplinary Filipino-American artist based in California with credentials a mile long.

A graduate of the historical San Francisco Art Institute, he's exhibited art in numerous spaces including the Oakland Museum of California.

But it's Salgado's love of 'real time' language that inspired his role as poet and spoken word artist.

He has presented throughout New York, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Manila. He has worked with artistic luminaries such as Last Poets, Jessica Hagedorn, and lyricist/beatboxer Radioactive of the international music group Spearhead.

An amazingly active artist and community activist, Salgado founded and directed numerous poetry, dance theater and music events to popular acclaim and is a board member of Mind Power Collective, a network of educators committed to social justice and youth empowerment, and he regular conducts workshops with students across the country.

Salgado's spoken word has lately combined forces with classically trained instrumentalist Innokenty, who also finds inspiration in the "electronica" club scene. Combined, this unique duo work together to composes original word and music to create a rich sonic experience that crosses through monologue, poetry, and hip-hop.

We had a chance to catch up with him recently:

What are you working on these days, artistically?
Anthem Salgado: I always have a couple burners fired up at the same time, especially between writing for performance and writing for the page. Right now, I'm focusing on developing my work in song-writing as well as short story writing.

What's been the biggest challenge for you, as a writer?
AS: I was working on a Spanish-English piece when I asked a friend to translate "challenge" in the context of "thing to overcome" or "thing to accomplish". That's when I was taught the Spanish word "meta" which means goal rather than challenge.

And I learned/realized that only in English is challenge synonymous with goal, but they're very different words, producing very different outlooks, and consequently, very different outcomes. Meta at its root means beyond.

Today, as a writer but moreover as a person, I actively choose to seek out the goal, the meta, and the beyond, instead of the challenge. It's healthier living. So, I haven't any challenges; simply goals. One ever-present is to keep a strong hustle - to push my artistic craft alongside my management skills.

As Bruce Lee says, "Here is natural instinct and here is control. You are to combine the two in harmony. Now if you have one to the extreme, you will be very unscientific. If you have another to the extreme, you will all of a sudden be a mechanical man, no longer a human being. The ideal is unnatural naturalness or natural unnaturalness."

I love Bruce Lee.

How did you first get into writing?
AS: High school when Mr. Peroni intro'd poetry to my sophomore English class. Ha ha. I joke. But not really. I've always been an instinctive writer. That is, though I've taken a couple workshops, I've never trained formally in literature. My degree is in visual arts. So while some may recall a moment of epiphany when they decided to be a "serious" writer, I've approached my literary art overall with the eye of an amateur, from the start through the present, always for fun.

What are some of your favorite themes and ideas to work with?
AS: Recurring concepts seem to be urban survival, word play, search for sanctuary, and only recently, love. Or longing. A sort of blues-poetry.

Who's on your reading list these days?
AS: I read books like I turn channels on the television. I always have a handful that I skip through and never quite finish. Presently it's:

SEASONS BY THE BAY by Oscar Penaranda


YOU'VE GOT TO READ THIS edited by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard


HYPHEN magazine

Do you have any advice for emerging writers?
AS: * FEEL GOOD. The anguished artist is sooooooo cliché. Would you ever write "It was a dark and stormy night"? No, because it's corny. So don't create equally cheesy attributes for the most important character in your story – you.

* QT WITH KIN. That is, quality time with your artist brethren and sistren, and not the posers, y'know who I mean, but the ones that strive for excellence! The ones that are always researching and producing. Your good friends. And also, your mentors. They'll inspire you to talk less and prove more.

* FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY. In the real world, you are your own best academic advisor. Customize your experience for maximum education by trusting your "Hmmm, I wonder how…" Yes, ask questions, listen for the answers.

You can visit Anthem Salgado online at or

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2005 Interview With Mong-Lan

Mong-Lan, poet, writer, painter, photographer, and Argentine tango dancer, left her native Vietnam on the last day of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975.

Mong-Lan's first book of poems, Song of the Cicadas, won the 2000 Juniper Prize, the 2002 Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Awards for Poetry and was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award.

Her other books of poetry include Why is the Edge Always Windy?; Love Poem to Tofu and Other Poems and Tango: a Seismology (forthcoming) .

She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona, was the recipient of a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry for two years at Stanford University, and was a Fulbright Fellow in Vietnam.

Her poetry has been frequently anthologized, and she has read her poetry, lectured and/or given academic presentations in Argentina, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, United States, Thailand and Vietnam.

Her paintings and photographs have been exhibited for one year at the Capitol House in Washington D.C., in galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, for six months at the Dallas Museum of Art, in public exhibitions in Tokyo, Bali, Bangkok and Seoul.

The following interview was conducted in 2005:

AAP: Congratulations on getting Why is the Edge Always Windy? out! How long did it take for you to write it?
Thanks. I first finished it in 2000, with a different title. Then finished it again in 2001, with yet a different title. Then in 2003, I finished it again, with yet another different title. Every year I’ve been looking at it and seeing something that needed to be revised. During those years, I was working on a different book of poems on the Argentine tango, which was finished, yet needed to be revised.

AAP: When did you know it was complete?

I worked on it until I thought it was right.

AAP: Has your family been supportive of you as a writer?

They would’ve preferred that I become a medical doctor, like the rest of the family. Though, I do think that at this point in my life, I think they are supportive of me.

AAP: It looks like you've been all over. Do you feel your experiences in these different geographical locations has had a specific bearing on your work?
I think so. Traveling and living in many places informs my experiential reservoir, and this is what I draw from when writing.

AAP: The official blurb text describes Why Is the Edge Always Windy as a stunning book of revelations, nightmares, and love poems, cross-cultural and historically compelling, and talks about your "being" in many cities, among other things.

But going deeper than that, what conclusions, if any, does Why Is the Edge Always Windy propose? What ties these themes all together for you?
The work is a collection of poems written during a period of time, during these awful times. Perhaps one conclusion of many would be that going to war is ultimately a mistake, and that peaceful measures should be taken at all costs before going to war.

I think that the basic theme would be that we are all connected, all nations, all peoples, and that before creating violence and havoc in the world, we should realize this connectedness within ourselves and outside of ourselves, and try to live in peace. This is the gloss.

But the poems are basically all love poems, because in the end, all poems are love poems..

AAP: Is there a particular poem that you think would serve as a good introduction to your work?
The prose poem “Sand, Flies and Fish” from my first collection, Song of the Cicadas, would be good to start out.

AAP: How has response from the Vietnamese community been to your work?
Positive, I think. Some of my poems have been translated into Vietnamese, and I have been formally “introduced” to the Vietnamese public in various Vietnamese literary journals and newspapers. The Vietnamese-American community, likewise, has been equally positive, if not more so.

AAP: What’s been the most difficult thing for you as a writer?
Finding publishers for my writing. There is less and less funding now for literary works of art, less funding for university presses.

AAP: What’s next for you?
More writing. As mentioned earlier, I finished a book of poems on the Argentine tango, called Milonga: A Seismology. I’m looking for a publisher for this right now. Also, I’m working on a multimedia art project that would include dance and video. As you might know, I am also a visual artist.

AAP: Who have some of your favorite writers been?
Adrienne Rich, Hart Crane, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marcel Proust, Camus are just a few.

AAP: How do you find time to balance your personal life, your professional life and writing?
It’s difficult, and perhaps I’m not balanced, but I just try my best. What I can’t do, I just accept and try not to regret.

AAP: What attracts you to poetry more than, say, the short story form, or play writing or the novel?
Well, I’m writing short stories now, have tried to write plays, and have flirted with the novel form. All of these genres are attractive to me, and perhaps some day, if I live long enough, I would write something of value in each of these genres.

AAP: Do you have any advice for younger writers?
Of course, read as much as you can of good writing and work hard at your craft. There are no other substitutes; nothing comes easy. Even Mozart worked hard day and night.

A 2002 Interview With Arthur Sze

Born in New York City in 1950, Arthur Sze is a second-generation Chinese American, and the author of five volumes of poetry, including The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

His poems appear in numerous magazines, including American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Mother Jones, Conjunctions, and the Bloomsbury Review. Translations of Sze's work have been published in Italy and China. An award-winning poet, Sze directed the Creative Writing Program at the Institute for American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he taught for more than a decade. This interview was conducted for Asian American Press.

AAP: Do you have any major upcoming projects?
I am currently working on my eighth book of poetry, which I hope to complete before the end of 2003. Some of the major sequences that will be incorporated into this new work include "Earthshine" and "Quipu," first published in Conjunctions. "Didyma," another long sequence will appear in the December issue of The Kenyon Review. I'm currently working on orchestrating short, discrete poems into the larger weave of the manuscript.
I am also co-editing, with Michelle Yeh at UC Davis, a feature on contemporary poetry in Taiwan for an upcoming issue of Manoa, to be published in the summer of 2003. Some of the poets who will be included are: Yang Mu, Shang Qin, Lo Fu, Luo Ying, Ling Yu, Hsia Yu, Chen Li, aboriginal poets Walis Nokan and Monaneng and many others. I'll be reading my poems and lecturing in Taiwan (in Taipei and Hua Lien) for two weeks this fall.

AAP: How would you describe your writing process?
My writing process is slow and arduous. I go through many drafts--sometimes 100 or more--to arrive at a completed poem. There's a delicate balance between rigor and spontaneity, and I oftentimes have to shed or let go of what I think the poem is about or where it is headed in order to let the real poem emerge and discover what is truly essential.
In writing sequences, or extended poems, I never write the opening poem first. I usually write a section that is about half or two thirds of the way through; I then have to work backwards and forwards to discover over time the essential sequence. Most of my extended poems take about one section a month to write. "Archipelago," for instance, took me ten months to create.

AAP: What were some of the biggest challenges for you when translating the poets in The Silk Dragon?
As a preface, I need to say that the translations in The Silk Dragon encompass a thirty year time span, but I did most of the translations in three bursts. In 1971-72, as a student at UC Berkeley, I turned to the T'ang masters--Li Po, Tu Fu, Wang Wei--as a form of poetic apprenticeship.

I wanted translations that were faithful to the meanings in the original Chinese but which also moved well as poems. I struggled with how to make the poems move rhythmically in English while retaining the sharp images and intensity and brevity of the originals.

In 1983-4, I did a second group of translations that included T'ao Ch'ien, Ma Chih-yuan, and Wen I-to. In these translations I struggled with how to make the voice of each poet a driving force behind the poem.

Finally in 1995-96, I worked extensively with Li Ho and Li Shang-yin. Here I wanted to struggle with poems that had many layers and allusions to Chinese history, alchemy, mythology and yet stay focused on the essential thread of longing that is woven into the tapestry of their poems.

AAP: In translating the poets in Silk Dragon, did you discover anything about your own style of writing?
I know translation is an impossible task. The Italians say: traddutori/traditori: translators/traitors. Yet, I think translation can be one of the best ways a young poet can develop his or her voice.

Of all the poets I translated, Wen I-to is the crucial one for me. (Much as I admired the T'ang poets, I arrived at the point where I felt the vocabulary and compression in the 5 or 7 character line was just too constricting.)

In many ways Wen I-to deliberately broke against that elegant tradition with his breakthrough volume, Dead Water. In translating a poem such as "Miracle," I inadvertently discovered what needed to happen for a short lyric poem to extend beyond 20-30 lines.

In many ways the Wen I-to translations are the bridge between classical Chinese poetry and my own work.

After the mid 1980s, I began to write sequences of poems where I could greatly extend the range and depth of my poetic material and where I could use juxtaposition as a form of metaphor. (I believe the structure of Chinese characters oftentimes show that , linguistically, juxtaposition is used as a form of metaphor where the "is" or equal sign is omitted.

For instance, "tree tips" + "fire" = "autumn"; but the Chinese character embodies and removes the equal sign so that tree tips juxtaposed with fire creates the character autumn. If "autumn" is written above, and "heart/mind" below, then the character "sorrow" = "autumn" in "heart/mind." So some Chinese characters may contain multiple metaphors.)

AAP: What themes and ideas are particularly interesting to you in your writing these days?
I'm pursuing the metaphor of language as fiber. I like a book of poems to be one large interconnected work (where a short poem has its place, and a long poem also has its respective place).

So at the moment I have poems strewn all over the floor where I'm physically moving them around and relocating them to explore the larger structure of this new book

AAP: Your work frequently creates an intersection of traditional and modern life, as well as an intersection between Eastern and Western cultures, the historical and mythic. What are some of the concerns that emerge for you as a writer?
I suppose I'm trying to create an essential weave and web with my writing. Instead of linear structures and linear time, I'm more interested in harnessing synchronicity and simultaneity. My experience of the world is more like a game of go (in Chinese, isn't it called wei chi?), where an event that occurs at one particular intersection greatly affects everything else.

I titled my poems from 1970-1998 The Redshifting Web because that phrase harnesses the infinitely small and the infinitely large and also allows room for empty space. In astronomy, redshift shows that the universe is expanding (light from distant galaxies is bent toward the red end of the spectrum), whereas a web is something small that, say, a spider creates.

In looking at the poems I had written over 28 years, it seemed like an appropriate metaphor to show how the poems are related yet deepen and keep opening up.

AAP: How do you address accessibility for audiences from different cultural backgrounds?
I like poems which are charged and immediate but which are also polysemous (having many meanings). I think a good poem can pull a reader into a new world, and even if, intially, a reader doesn't understand a particular word or phrase or reference (that will come later, after several readings), a reader can read by nerves and still intuit the overall effect. I do think, because we live in such a consumer-oriented surface-oriented world, poetry has a crucial role to play.

It asks us to slow down, to experience the sounds and rhythms and silences of words, to re-experience and re-envision the world. In doing so, in go deeper into ourselves, I hope it is a rewarding request to ask a reader to look up a new word or even look up a familiar word to look at its etymology etc. All of the worlds are coming together, and I think it's important we learn from each of the traditions that is evolving.

In terms of my own poetry, there are instances where I need to use a word from a certain language (it can't be adequately translated), yet I'll try to provide enough reference in English to make it more accessible.

For instance, in a poem called "Parallax," I open with: "Kwakwha."/ "Askwali." I don't expect a reader to understand these words. I prefer a reader to hear the sounds and be astonished by them. (What are they? What do they mean?) In the next line, I clarify the meaning with. "The shift in Hopi when a man or woman says 'thank you' ..." So I make clear to a reader that they have just heard two words from the Hopi language which are two gender different words for saying "thank you."

So I try to stretch and yet maintain a form of balance.

Not For The Squeamish

Neatorama has archived: 6 Horrifying Parasites. A classic article from 2006 that first appeared in Mental Floss Magazine, it should serve as a certain reminder that nature isn't always cuddly and should be treated with great respect.

This sacculina carcini above, for example, when you understand what it really does, can give you nightmares for weeks...

Southeast Asian American Writing Opportunities: March 2008

There are tons out there, but some to keep an eye out for:

UC Berkeley's Southeast Asian Student Coalition is creating a grassroots anthology of Southeast Asian American writing. Deadline: April 30th, 2008. For more information:

Asian Pacific Writer Network:
Theme: Lies/Truth.
Deadline 15 July 2008
You are invited to send writing or art appropriate to the theme Lies/Truth for possible inclusion in the August 2008 edition for the Asia and Pacific Writers Network This edition will be edited by the Hong Kong-based writer Tammy Ho Lai-ming.

APWN accepts previously published work and will acknowledge first publication. They will consider poetry, fiction, non-fiction, diary excerpts, comics, photo-texts, photos and visual art. Please send between 1 to 3 pieces of writing or art, either in the body of the email [preferred] or in any of the following formats: .doc, .txt, .rtf and .pdf. If you would like to include images, please send JPEGS, 300 x 400 pixels, at 72 dpi. Please send your submissions to

Hmong and Lao Magazines Accepting fiction/non-fiction short stories, poetry, essays and op-eds, photography, visual art submissions, letters to the editor. Bakka Magazine is a monthly magazine for anyone with a connection to Laos. or Lao Roots is interested in work from freelance contributing writers. The Journal of Southeast Asian Education and Advancement is taking both non-fiction and creative, literary writing. It is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal addressing research interests surrounding the education and community development of Southeast Asian Americans. Eye.D Magazine is an online publication dedicated to celebrating the diverse experiences of Asian-Americans by educating and entertaining its readers through thoughtful dialogue, captivating articles and resourceful information. Eye.D's goal is to be a voice for the Asian community as their identity evolves in America. They're currently accepting submissions for Unplug, a bi-monthly Hmong magazine. 18xeem is a Hmong magazine looking for writers, artists and other contributors. It's presently produced bimonthly. Hmong Passion Magazine is looking for contributors. They have a strong youth and education focus. It's scheduled to be published quarterly (every 3 months). Hmong Is You magazine is a biyearly magazine printed in May and November with a youth focus.

Asian American Magazines

The following Asian American magazines and websites could also always use new writers and contributors: Still active, Hyphen Magazine is always looking to give opportunities to freelancers, writers and artists. is a daily news / culture site with a strong, humorous Asian American editorial bend. (But you don't have to necessarily be Asian American to write for them). 13 Minutes target audience consists of females, ages 24 to 45. Their focus is to provide bicultural Asian American women with a forum in which issues that are familiar with them can be addressed and explored. CHA: An Asian Literary Journal is the first Hong Kong-based online literary quarterly journal dedicated to publishing quality poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews, photography & art from and about Asia. Theme Magazine is a quarterly publication that covers global avant-garde Asian culture for an increasingly international readership. or Altra is still going. A quarterly lifestyle magazine that celebrates Asian and Asian American excellence. ALTRA highlights achievements by cosmopolitan, English speaking Asians and Asian Americans, and also informs the public on the diverse trends and issues affecting individuals of Asian descent. Colorlines is a more serious bimonthly magazine, and is billed as the leading national, multi-racial magazine devoted to the creativity and complexity of communities of color. ColorLines features the best writing on the issues that affect these communities. Jade Magazine endeavors to be THE reference for professional Asian and Asian American women in their 20's and 30's. Audrey Magazine is still around. A bimonthly English-language magazine highlighting the stories that interest Asian American women nationwide. East West, is an Asian American lifestyle magazine covering fashion, politics, food, career, beauty, celebrities and more.

SEA Anthology Call For Submissions

Abridged from a post passed on by Maurice Seaty.

Through a forthcoming publication known as "The Southeast Asian Anthology: (re)planting our Stories" we seek to document the ongoing experiences and stories of the Southeast Asian community. It's time to write and reclaim our his&her-stories.

Take part in the growing of our his&her-story of our people by writing for the Anthology!! We want your STORY and YOUR VOICE IN THE ANTHOLOGY!

In solidarity. peace&love,

The Southeast Asian Anthology Committee
Southeast Asian Student Coalition
506 Barrows Hall, Berkeley,CA 94720-4260

Please send any ** Poetry * Rhyme * Opinion * Commentary * Personal Essay * Short Story * Long Story * Story Cloth * Play * Monologue * (Auto) Biography * Memoir * Journal Entry * Letter * Recipe * * Interview * News Article * Artwork * Photography * Collage * Spoken Word * Written Word * Any Word ** that reflects you, how you grew up, your community, your environment, your passion!

Writing workshops to help you and others flush out ideas will be held from 5pm to 7pm every Saturday starting March 2, 2008 through April 19, 2008 on UC Berkeley’s campus.

Everyone is welcome to join our team, and everyone is welcome to submit. Please turn in your submission by April 30, 2008 if you’d like some feedback on your work.

Please send any questions or submissions via email to:

Monday, March 03, 2008

March 5 Deadline: $8K MN Writers Career Initiative Grant

Deadline: Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 5 pm
For full details, visit The Loft

The Minnesota Writers Career Initiative provides financial support and professional assistance to advanced writers to develop and implement multifaceted plans to help them enter the next phase of their careers. Two to four winners will be selected to receive grants of no more than $8,000 to underwrite career development plans of their own design. Proposals should include the applicant's vision of his or her career path and how it would benefit from the proposed plan. It must also be compatible with the realities of the literary market.

I received a 2007 Writers Career Initiative Grant, and it was extremely helpful. I strongly recommend it if you're eligible to apply!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Initial Scenes From Marscon 2008

A special thanks to everyone who came to see my panels this year! It was really a great time for everyone! :)