Where does a year go?
Considering my year began by getting rear-ended by a 7-year veteran of the FBI's Violent Crimes Division in Minneapolis, it's all turned out all right, even after also getting laid off by work after Labor Day following 3 years with them.
I thank everyone who's been a part of a truly wonderful 2008. So what did we get done this year?
Travels: I traveled widely this year including Chicago, Colorado, Iowa, all over Wisconsin, Michigan and California. One of the big highlights was wat-hopping with some great photostudies of Lao American temples in the Midwest as a result.
Publications: The biggest achievement of course this year was the release of my second book, Winter Ink, the 20th anniversary Winter Book of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts under the direction of award-winning master printer, Paulette Myers-Rich.
I got the greenlight for my new book of speculative poetry, Barrow, which will come out in 2009. New poems of mine were published in Whistling Shade, the upcoming Grinding Up Stones, and the new anthology, Language for a New Century.
A poet asked to translate my work into Bengali, my poetry was included in a Canadian college textbook about Laos, and On the Other Side of the Eye is taught in several classrooms across the US now, including California.
In the meantime, I also got some great work done interviewing some amazing Asian American writers and artists, and continued my research on puppoetics and the creatures of Laos (mythological and cryptozoological) and my haiku reviews project.
Reviews, interviews and shoutouts for 2008: Lao Roots, Bakka Magazine, 2.1.5. Magazine, Write On! Radio, 3 Minute Egg, the Star Tribune, Whistling Shade, Hyphen Magazine, Northography, Boston Progress Radio, Angry Asian Man, Asian American Press, Tales of the Unanticipated, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, Slant Eye for the Round Eye, Towers Magazine, the Carl Brandon Society, Dark Parables, Minority Militant, the Science Fiction Poetry Association and the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Thanks, everyone!
Events: Hardly a month went by without doing a reading somewhere.
This year opened with the historic Asian American Poetry Triple Header featuring the work of Lee Herrick, Sun Yung Shin and myself at the Loft Literary Center.
Another major reading was in July with Ed Lin and Saymoukda Vongsay for the popular Eye The Other Bust!: Crime and Love reading where Saymoukda debuted her very first chapbook, No Regrets.
Ed just won the Member's Choice award from the Asian American Literary Awards for his new novel, This Is A Bust, so that made this reading all the more special.
In August, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of On the Other Side of the Eye on 08-08-08 at the Amazon Bookstore with Katie Ka Vang, Brandon Lacy Campos and Saymoukda Vongsay reading with me.
In addition, I had key readings at UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, Viterbo, UW Green Bay, the Association for Asian American Studies conference, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Diversicon with the award-winning Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Patrick Henry High School, and Common Good Books.
Another highlight was a reading with the MOSAIC Asian Story Telling Alliance at Java Jack's Coffee Cafe with David Zander, Kao Kaliya Yang among many others.
There were also some very nice panel presentations at the Loft Poetry Festival, the Arcana horror convention and Asian Pacific Heritage Day at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Awards: Although On the Other Side of the Eye was passed over for the Rhyslings (which is ok, because they don't do book-length collections of speculative poetry) and a few other minor awards, it all works out.
As most of you heard, my year's highlights are receiving the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant at the beginning of the year and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature at the end to continue my work with all of you.
And what's on the schedule for 2009?
It's gonna amaze you. :)