Thank you to Ada Yee for her interview. You can read my rambling responses at Lantern Review. (Alas, rambling is what happens during phone interviews; I’m more controlled via email.)
I realize one thing I am a little self-conscious is talking about teaching my own book for Filipino American lit class, which I’m scheduled to teach in Spring 2011. Ada and I talk a bit about being an authority on the subject of Filipino American literature, and even as I can confidently take on teaching a college course on it, curating a reading series centered around Filipino American writers and authors, and of course, being a Filipino American author, still, the word, “authority” makes me a little uneasy.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt of the interview, on the subject of community support:
Two of my poetry mentors, Jaime Jacinto and Eileen Tabios, were hands on. Whereas I consider the monumental community figure like Al Robles to have been inspirational (because of his poems, the subject matter of his poems, and his community work; his poetic and political practice were the same thing), Jaime and Eileen gave me a lot of one-on-one concrete literary advice about where to submit my work, which poets to read; they asked me hard questions about what I wanted my poetry to do, and advised me accordingly. Both have also read my manuscripts in progress and given me feedback on these. These two also brought me into literary reading venues and as editors, into publication.
So, following the lead of these two, as an editor for various poetic projects, I’ve tried my best to open up the publication space to younger API and Pinoy/Pinay poets; in the past I’ve included the poetry of Ching-In Chen, Debbie Yee, and Sasha Pimentel Chacon in OCHO. Yee’s poem, “Cinderella’s Last Will and Testament,” ended up in Best American Poetry 2009. Two of my forthcoming guest editor projects, In the Grove and Blue Fifth Review, will include poems by Niki Escobar, Rachelle Cruz, Sean Labrador y Manzano, Gizelle Gajelonia, Yael Villafranca, and Allison Moreno.
I have a couple more editing projects up my sleeve, in which I plan to continue opening up that publication space to emerging writers or color.
Read the entire interview here.