My appreciations to Gramma Press for publishing my post-election poem as one of their Dailies for March 2017. I wrote this one following the date of its title, and it sprung from a phrase that came to me after that day: "our art needs / to count / even more now." I was thinking in part about a late October conversation in a bar with my Neuwerk co-curators, Steve Hefter and Danielle Ross, and how we were talking lightly on the subject then, musing about how or whether our art-curating efforts would matter - or would matter more - after that date in November. ... This is the best I could do trying to expand that thought... Read the whole poem here.
Some news from January: Happy to announce that I've received a Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) Project Grant for 2017, to work on a visual-poetic-sonic document involving collaborative writing and hybrid forms, working with She Who Has No Master(s), a collective of Vietnamese women writers of the diaspora. "Unmastered" is a process document, that will involve visual imagery, poetry, and the recorded voices of the writers involved. I'll be documenting our collective collaboration during a writing retreat and literary event this May, in Corsica and Paris. The other writers involved are: Angie Chau, Lan Duong, Anna Moi, Hoa Nguyen, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Aimee Phan, Thao P. Nguyen, Julie Thi Underhill, and myself. So honored to be in such good company.
We will write and collaborate together in Corsica for ten days, then will present our collaborative poetic work on May 27th at the American Library in Paris. Our event will be introduced by 2016 Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen. More details to come.
A little bit of love for my poetry manuscript, The Assassin's Wife, from Octopus Books... It was one of 8 finalists out of 300-some manuscripts considered in their latest reading period. My gratitude to the kind readers at Octopus. The finalist manuscripts included:
Hogg Book by Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi
Nothing is Wasted by Shabnam Piryaei
The Assassin’s Wife by Dao Strom
This is the Fireplace, Eleanor by Scott Schwalenberg
Punctured Body is a Home by Gustavo Barrera
Calderón, trans by Kathleen Heir
Huge Cloudy by Bill Carty
Things That Go by Laura Eve Engel
Two of those manuscripts will be published by Octopus in early 2019: Things That Go by Laura Eve Engel + Huge Cloudy by Bill Carty.
I'm honored and moved to have my little book make it this far in the reading rounds, and in such good company. It's my first all-poetry/long-poem endeavor and occupies a particular emotional territory I've been exploring through some songs as well; one of those is here...
A collaborative project started by poet Neil Aitken and I just received a 2016 Precipice Fund Grant for upcoming work in 2017. Many thanks to PICA, Precipice Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Calligram Foundation.
Here's our project description:
De-Canon: A Visibility Project is a “pop-up library” and web resource project that will showcase literary art by writers/artists of color. Our goal is to put forth an alternative literary “canon” — or multiple canons, in fact — that are inclusive, diverse, and multi-storied in their approach to representation. De-Canon wishes to challenge existing ideas of what constitutes the North American literary canon, how it is formed, and who gets to ‘write’ it, especially in our current culture.
We will be planning events in with other Portland POC writers and artists throughout 2017, leading up to the reveal of our "library" sometime in August 2017. More details to come soon...
We are especially honored to be a part of this community of 2016 Precipice Fund Grant recipients.
These poems appeared in The Offing back in August...
It's been a busy 2016 so far. Here are the highlights:
The 2016 Creative Capital Artist Awards were announced: I am one of 6 Literature grantees, out of 46 total projects spanning performing arts, theater, emerging fields, music, and literature. Honored and humbled. My new project is called Postwar Tablefruit, and will be furthering my exploration of merging hybrid forms - poetry, memoir, music, image.
I was especially honored to be a part of HOLDING SPACE, a social engagement and evening of performance curated by Stacey Tran, at Holocene in Portland, Oregon, and featuring only artists of color. The other performers were amazing and I saw some life-changing art (for me) that night from: Intisar Abioto, Claire Berrera, Ripley Snell, Eileen Isagon Skyers, and Takahiro Yamamoto.
Also organized this all Asian-Am music bill at The Waypost, with Underwoman and the Believers, La Priesteza/John Akira Harrold, and myself (performing as The Sea & The Mother). Thanks to Barry, John & William for accompanying me!
Lots of readings and small performances, including: Smallpressapalooza at Powell's (thanks to Kevin Sampsell); Workshop Vintage (curated by Coleman Stevenson, whose creative spirit never ceases to amaze...); AWP Panel Reading "Beyond Forty Years..." with Bich Minh Nguyen, Viet Thanh Nguyen (just prior to Pulitzer announcement), Aimee Phan, and Vu Tran; and university visits to Knox College (thanks to Katya Reno) and High Point University (thanks to Jacob Paul). I am grateful to enterprising professor-friends who are introducing my hybrid project (WWMGP + East/West) to their students.
Our "INHERITORS: She Who Has No Master(s)" Hybrid Forms Series Launch Event @ Likewise Art Bar on May 28th was a big success. Beautiful night of poetry, sharing, music, and our group poem performance debut. Many thanks to Adam Moser & Nancy Prior of Likewise, and to my co-organizers, Danielle Frandina/Tell It Slant Reading Series and A.M. O'Malley. And to the Portland literary community for helping spread the word, for filling the room with the best kind of silence - receptivity - and for welcoming out-of-town writers Angie Chau, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Julie Thi Underhill, and Stacey Tran and myself. Here is the mission statement/summary for our INHERITORS hybrid forms series:
INHERITORS is a hybrid-art & literary series exploring the theme of aftermath as expressed through the lenses of multidisciplinary artists/collaborations who are descendants and inheritors of violence stemming from war, cultural and civil upheaval, domestic abuse, intergenerational trauma, domestic and other forms of power abuses.
Our May 28th debut event, She Who Has No Master(s), will gather the voices/experiences of female descendants and inheritors of the Vietnam War and refugee exodus.
Group image-text show at The Pigeons Studio & Gallery in St. Johns is running for the month of June, and has been extended into July!
Thanks to Rubi Martini for the space, and to Coleman Stevenson for all her beautiful curation. I made poems in the form of maps and webbed frames for this one. La Priesteza/John Akira Harrold performed music at the opening, and A.M. O'Malley read from her hanging poems. I sang with John on one of his songs, which is always a joy; his creativity with the banjo and a loop pedal is truly unique.
Also had the honor of playing a song in support of Shayla Lawson's PANTONE book release party at Literary Arts on June 9th, alongside readings/performance by Coleman Stevenson, John Akira Harrold, and DJ Lamar Leroy.
Sharing the space with other API women artists at Beacon Sound on Mississippi Ave on July 21st, then off to the Creative Capital Artist Retreat in Troy, NY (to give my presentation for Postwar Tablefruit) for July 26-31!