AWP 2019 – Rigorous Reading

There’s no better way to kick off AWP than reading the first night you land on the West Coast. Such a great way to reunite with old friends and partake in the love we have for writing.

I feel very fortunate to have had a chance to read with wonderful writers such as Hari Alluri, Laurin DeChae, Steven Dunn, Wendy Chin, Rone Shavers, Kenning JP García, and others.

If you missed this reading you can click here and listen to all the wonderful Rigorous Readers [here].

See you next year in San Antonio 2019!

Photos of: Hari Alluri, Rone Shavers, Laurin DeChae, and Kenning JP García.

Countdown to Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making Release Date

The official publication date for Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making :: An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics is March 27, 2019!

This is such an exciting time for Luisa A. Igloria and for myself as the idea came about in the fall of 2016! Yes, 2016. From brainstorming to putting out the call for essays to reading and selecting the essays to working with a publisher to minor bumps to last minute revisions—it has taken us two years and some change to finally reach our publication date.

As of right now there’s still time to preorder over at The Operating System’s main website. The publication date does coincide with the AWP Conference (Association of Writers & Writing Programs). If you will be at AWP in Portland this year then the anthology will be available at the book fair in two locations: The Operating System’s table as well as the Old Dominion University’s table. If you spot me at the conference then I will also have copies of the anthology for sale.

Until then I want to highlight some of the wonderful people and poets involved in this anthology as it takes a village to bring these anthologies to life.

Many thanks to the following writers who have graciously blurbed our anthology:

“What an astonishing symphony of ‘desperate and beautiful noise’ the editors have assembled here! It feels unprecedented to me, and yet somehow also already indispensable. I will be teaching, and learning, from this anthology for years.”
~ Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf

“Of Color assembles a remarkable chorus of voices, each distinct, powerful, and deeply moving on its own, but when taken together reflect the rich and complex soundscape of what it means to be a writer of color in America today. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to encounter a collection of essays which speak so honestly of the ways that grief, anxiety, gratitude, and love can bring us to the page and transform our language, our world, or even ourselves. “
~ Neil Aitken, author of The Lost Country of Sight and Babbage’s Dream

“There is a fierceness required or grown from having little choice but to be attentive. Like walking an uneven and dangerous path chock full of hidden or horizon-obliterating elements screaming quiet in their teeming to be witnessed. This is nothing less magic than the complex work-work of language itself, and in such crucial voicings, the ones offered right here. 

Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making :: An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics is testimonial and music, memory and urgency and loss, fire and salve for what has been, for the troubled ongoing future. 

The authors, the stories their bodies and flesh carry, the memories they often contend with, brought together and beautifully curated by Luisa A. Igloria and Amanda Galvan Huynh, are no easy “we.” And yet I risk this: it is in gathering uneasy, willing ourselves into readiness, to share how hard or through what experimentations in contention we got here that we may find in the stories, in the work, waystones for the journey on. 

I want to quote all the essays in this unbroken promise of a book to you. Like being the first in the crew to, just this side of gushing, pop in a tape our body responses decide carries our next song for crossing bridges. Instead, I say I needed this book many years ago, and need it now. May you who finds this so often brilliant waystone of a book carry it to the places more of us can find it, too. ”
~ Hari Alluri, author of The Flayed City

Zinc Bar Reading Series in NYC

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to read at the Zinc Bar located in Greenwich Village with Chris Patrick Lopera and Salman Rayhan Patwary. Chris is a Colombian-American poet from New York. Salman is a writer from New York pursuing a BFA in writing at Brooklyn College.

The Zinc Bar has a relaxed and chill environment. In addition to jazz the Zinc Bar has had a regular poetry reading series every Sunday with doors opening at 4:30 pm and the readers starting at 5:00 pm. Joe, Alex, and Douglas have been hosting the reading series for about 25 years, give or take two years, and are wonderful people to work with.

During the event they “Pass the Hat” for donations. While all donations are optional they do suggest a $5 per guest donation but are open to any contribution you can give. All the proceeds are split between the readers for that night.

If you find yourself in the area on a Sunday then stop on by to listen and support visiting poets. I’m definitely looking forward to reading again and visiting in the future.

Nomination for Best New Poets 2019

Many thanks to Glass: A Journal of Poetry  for nominating “Only One of Us Can Breathe in Space” for the 2019 Best New Poets Anthology. I’m always humbled whenever my poems receive nominations, and I’m very grateful for the extra work that editors and their staff put into their journals and the support they give their contributors. Congratulations to Lauren Milici on her nomination as well!

To learn more about Glass and the work they do head on over to their website. If you are an avid reader then dive into their current issue or checking out their chapbook series. If you are a poet feel free to submit to their journal as they are wonderful to work with. To support these wonderful human beings and the work they do feel free to share their page, give them love, or buy one of their chapbooks.

For more information about Best New Poets you can check out their website as the open competition starts April 1 and ends May 15.

Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making

March 2019 

by The Operating System

Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making

An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics

Amanda Galvan Huynh & Luisa A. Igloria, Editors

of color_full

Cover design by Elæ [Lynne DeSilva-Johnson] with featured artwork by Suchitra Mattai.

As a faculty member and as a student, respectively; and as working poets of color in an MFA Creative Writing Program, we see the anxieties and pragmatic questions that students of color have, as they look for models and mentorship to support their experiences and histories. We hasten to add that faculty of color also experience the same kinds of fundamental unease: they seek to provide meaningful teaching while going through the rituals of academic tenure where they continually encounter the kinds of scrutiny that suggest, among other things, that their credentials and what they bring to the table are somehow wanting, even when they are not.

Especially in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election and its impact upon communities of color across the nation, we can expect that these kinds of conversations among writers of color will only deepen and intensify.

While we may not have answers to the current climate and rhetoric of social divisiveness and contention, we want to help put forth efforts toward building, in some areas where we can claim experience and agency: our stories, our voice.

Through this project, we gathered and consolidated some of the best essays that will speak to how and where we have come to poetry; and what we have learned about making and professing it, as poets of color, even in contexts which may have challenged our specific capacities to do so.

The anthology, which will be available in 2019, includes work by 15 wonderful poets, including Ocean Vuong, Craig Santos Perez, Sasha Pimentel, Ching-In Chen, Kenji Liu, Khadijah Queen, Tim Seibles, Abigail Licad, Addie Tsai, Remica L. Bingham-Risher, Wendy A. Gaudin, Melissa Coss Aquino, Tony Robles, Ernesto Abeytia, and José Angel Araguz.

For updates check on our Facebook page: Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making

New Poem in Rust + Moth

I straddle the Mexican American cultural lines. When I wrote this poem I thought this poem would be for every pocha/x out there like me but I wasn’t prepared for the outpour of understanding, for the community.

The first time I read Enough in an open crowd I had a man walk up to me afterwards and say I’m half white half Latino. I go through the same thing. We connected on the threads of breathing two living cultures but not fully belonging to one.

The fact that I cannot speak Spanish (rural Tex-Mex) well alienates me even more. I could learn the “proper” Spanish but there are so many accent variations that my family’s Spanish isn’t taught in school. I could point fingers and others could point fingers on who to blame but it doesn’t change how things unfolded.

My partner, Vietnamese American, deals with the same issues of being disconnected from Vietnamese and the Vietnamese spoken in America is evolving from Vietnamese spoken in Vietnam. I have no doubt that many minorities living in America deal with these same struggles but that’s for another conversation for another day.

I’ve had the pleasure to talk with people who are bi/multiracial, are balancing the same questions of cultural identity and trying to keep the insecurities (I’m not Mexican enough. Not Black enough. Not Vietnamese enough. Not American enough. Not [Insert Your Ethnicity] enough.) at bay.

To those I have and have not met yet: let’s simply be enough today.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Rust + Moth’s Summer Issue (in progress) then head on over to their website.

Thoughts on Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making Anthology

In Fall of 2016, I was compiling a list of craft books for my thesis. While I had made my contemporary and classic poetry book list diverse, I noticed my craft book list was lacking. Where were all the writers of color? Why weren’t there craft books by poets of color?

I found myself at an impasse: Should I wait and leave the work to others? I might have to wait awhile but certainly it should be someone else; I’m still a student.

I’m glad I didn’t let this thread of thought stop me. If not me then who? When? Right now was the perfect time to start, and I wasn’t surprised to find others who felt the same.

Fortunately, I have the honor to work with a wonderful professor who has lent me her support. I can’t write on Luisa’s behalf, but I hope this anthology finds poets who need it the most. I’m also humbled by the support we’ve received so far. It makes me feel less alone.

Deadline for essays: April 15, 2017
Submit to: POConMaking (a) gmail.com
Check out the detailed call: Details
Check out our Facebook page: Of Color Anthology Facebook Page

 

New Poem in Whurk

Excited to have “Notes on Absence” published in Whurk’s Issue 50! I’m also equally excited and touched by Paul Hostetler’s accompanying illustration.

I told my partner, “It’s me. It’s my family.” A reminder that I’m not used to seeing myself, brown hair/Latinx features, in art. Such a true blessing. 

Thank you to Whurk’s Staff! Show them love and support at whurk.com!