#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 6: Virginia Cerenio, Jaime Jacinto, Jeff Tagami

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read. Actually, I am breaking my own rule. Here are three Bay Area Kearny Street Workshop Fil Am authors Virginia Cerenio, Jaime Jacinto, and Jeff Tagami.

These three are revered elder poets published by a revered, historically important, San Francisco based, APIA specific indie publisher. These authors published one book apiece, and I wish there could have been so much more from them (Tagami passed away a few years ago). At the time of their publication, I, we had never seen poetry like this, necessarily Fil Am specific and Fil Am centered poetry. It felt homegrown, poems constructed from historical, poetic instinct, but don’t think this means it’s synonymous with unrefined or undisciplined. This work made me see what I could be capable of producing myself. There was a massive historical and literary void; they filled it.

National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey

04/03 Truong Tran

04/04 Al Robles

04/05 Kay Ulanday Barrett, Sokunthary Svay, Jane Wong, Khaty Xiong

#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 5: Kay Ulanday Barrett, Sokunthary Svay, Jane Wong, Khaty Xiong

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read. Actually, I am breaking my own rule. Here are four poets’ first full length collections.

Kay Ulanday Barrett, When the Chant Comes; Sokunthary Svay, Apsara in New York; Jane Wong, Overpour; Khaty Xiong, Poor Anima. I come to these four poets and their works with much interest. I confess, I haven’t dived into their books yet; summer is when this will happen. But they have been on my radar for some time now as folks to watch for.

National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey

04/03 Truong Tran

04/04 Al Robles

#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 4: Al Robles

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read.

Today’s recommendation is Al Robles. I am beyond sad that his book, rappin’ with ten thousand carabaos in the dark has been out of print. I always suspected that if not for the intervention of key people in the West Coast/CA APIA academic and publishing communities, this book might never have been. In my mind and memory, Manong Al will always be the storyteller. The improvisation, the rhythms, the deep memory of so many people’s lives and narratives entrusted to him. Yes, folks trusted him with their stories, and so they opened themselves to him.

On the national level, APIA poets, especially those academically bound, will probably not know a lick about Manong Al, and will probably not care so much about his “loose” poetic style. But it wasn’t loose. It was a lifetime of practice, reflecting street level lived experience yes, but also recall he was a jazz pianist and a practitioner of Zen Buddhism. Those disciplines and aesthetics run deep in the work.

There’s a whole lot that attentiveness, fine tuning all senses, and living fully engaged in the real world, will give you that dependence upon an academic program or an MFA will not, and never will.

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National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey

04/03 Truong Tran

04/04 Al Robles

 

#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 3: Truong Tran

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read.

Image result for Truong tran book

Today’s recommendation is Truong Tran, longtime Bay Area poet, and one of my mentors. I came to his work when I was still quite young in poetry (or Poetry), looking for different things that a poem could do, still in the “service” of some kind of Asian American story. Tran’s poems taught me to push the poetic line farther than I had ever known what a poetic line’s capabilities could be. What does this mean for the work and words our APIA community is asking for, stating their need for. Well, it’s challenging them, to think (again) of how many ways we can convey our “message,” and how poetic line and form are very much, deeply a part of that.

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National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey

04/03 Truong Tran

#NationalPoetryMonth #APIA #Poetry Day 2: Amanda Ngoho Reavey

This month, I shall be posting one APIA poet (or book) recommendation per day, so that all of you who are asking me what to read will know what to read.

Image result for "amanda ngoho reavey" marilyn

Today’s recommendation is Amanda Ngoho Reavey, whose Marilyn is a challenging and very fulfilling read. How does one form identity, is a major question in Asian American Literature. How does one reclaim an identity when a trail of official documents documents the subtraction of that identity. Reavey’s poems are tesserae, mosaic tiles, in which we see how even one missing piece skews the whole picture, or even, how arranged just ever so slightly different skews an entire picture as well. Beautiful work.

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National Poetry Month APIA Poets:

04/01 Rajiv Mohabir

04/02 Amanda Ngoho Reavey