Thursday, April 27, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Lo Kwa Mai-En

Lo Kwa Mei-en is the author of Yearling (Alice James Books, 2015), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, The Romances (The Lettered Streets Press) and Two Tales (Bloom Books). Her 2016 book was Bees Make Money In The Lion. She lives and works in Cincinnati.

Our Shared Futures coming to Fresno!

Thanks to Tamejavi-PVI and the Holistic Cultural and Education Wellness Center, this Friday night, I'll be doing my final event for the 21st National Poetry Month, presenting a selection of my award-winning science fiction poems from over the years and discussing the importance of science fiction and fantasy for Southeast Asian American communities rebuilding their lives in the US.

As the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, this will also serve as a good lead-in to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.

The event is free with doors opening at 6:30 PM. Please feel free to invite friends, families, and anyone who is interested in writing. I'd love to meet them! I'll have books for sale there and will be signing them.

As a heads up, based on my upcoming commitments this is the last time I will be in the Central Valley for several months and possibly the rest of the year, so I do hope you can make it!

Meanwhile, from earlier this week, here's abig thanks to Ignacio López-Calvo, Director of the UC Merced Center for the Humanities for a wonderful introduction as I began my brownbag conversation "Why the Lao Imagination Mattered."

We were looking at the 40 years journey of bringing diverse voices forward, challenging both internalized racism and external dismissal, systems of censorship and the lack of resources for cultural production and expression. To create culture shift is never something that can be taken for granted, but it is possible. And it has often begun in colleges very much like the UC Merced with youth very much like the ones I spoke to this month.

While no one can guarantee the future, it is my hope that in my time here, at least one of them heard my message I have been trying so hard to share: "It's possible."

And ten years from now, we may just see something really amazing from them, if not sooner.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Hai-Dang Phan

Hai-Dang Phan’s poetry has been published in The New Yorker, POETRY Magazine, Best American Poetry 2016, jubilat, Prelude, and New England Review. A recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the American Literary Translators Association, and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, Phan holds degrees in creative writing from the University of Florida (MFA) and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD). Born in Vietnam and raised in Wisconsin, he currently lives in Des Moines and teaches at Grinnell College.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Rajiv Mohabir

Selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books for his book entitled The Taxidermistʻs Cut (Spring 2016), Rajiv Mohabir received fellowships from Voices of Our Nationʻs Artist foundation, Kundiman, The Home School (where he was the Kundiman Fellow), and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program.

His second manuscript The Cowherd’s Son won the 2015 Kundiman Prize. He was also awarded a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara, published originally in 1916. His translations of this text is forthcoming from Kaya Press in 2018.

His poem "Ancestor" was chosen by Philip Metres for the 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award. His poems also recieved the 2015 Editor's Choice Award from Bamboo Ridge Journaland the 2014 Academy of American Poet’s Prize for the University of Hawai‘i. His poem "Dove" appears in Best American Poetry 2015. Other poems and translations appear in journals such as Quarterly West, Guernica, The Collagist, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, small axe, The Asian American Literary Review, Great River Review, and PANK. He has received several Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations.

Winner of the inaugural chapbook prize by Ghostbird Press for Acoustic Trauma, he is the author of three other multilingual chapbooks: Thunder in the Courtyad: Kajari Poems, A Veil You’ll Cast Aside, na mash me bone, and na bad-eye me.

Rajiv holds a BA from the University of Florida in religious studies, an MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Long Island University, Brooklyn when he was a New York City Teaching Fellow, and an MFA in poetry and literary translation from Queens College, CUNY where he was Editor in Chief of Ozone Park Literary Journal. While in New York working as a public school teacher, Rajiv also produced the nationally broadcast radio show KAVIhouse on JusPunjabi (2012-2013). Currently a PhD candidate at the University of Hawai’i where he writes about colonial era anti-sodomy laws, plastic, and humpback whales