Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Laodyssey Playlist


So, recently it became necessary to make the transition from California back to the Midwest following a 6-year venture in community building and the arts, among other things. Because it's a bit of a pain searching around for radio stations that play my favorite music, and finding ones who don't repeat the same songs every other hour in horrible rotation, I wound up loading a Samsung tablet with a few to hold me over during the journey, because Manikab's DVD player is currently not working. 

So I have a record, the ones that wound up in the heaviest rotation were the following. Postmodern Jukebox and Puddles Pity Party occupied most of the list during this journey, as did Edith Piaf's "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien," and Tom Waits "I'll Be Gone" and "Hang On St. Cristopher." Jennifer Lawrence singing "The Hanging Tree," and Lana Del Rey's "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" also saw extensive play, along with War's "Gypsy Man," ZZ Top's "La Grange," and the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. I should have brought along some more Sade.





Saturday, July 08, 2017

Asian American issue of Poetry available now

The new issue of Poetry is out, featuring my work as well as the work of many amazing Asian American poets and I'm honored to be among such fine company. Be sure to check it out and get a copy if you spot it out there.


The magazine has since been in continuous publication for more than 100 years, making it the oldest monthly magazine devoted to verse in the English language. Perhaps most famous for having been the first to publish T.S. Eliot’s "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (and, later, John Ashbery's "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"), Poetry also championed the early works of H.D., Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Marianne Moore.

It was first to recognize many poems that are now widely anthologized: "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks, Briggflatts by Basil Bunting, "anyone lived in a pretty how town" by E.E. Cummings, "Chez Jane" by Frank O'Hara, "Fever 103°" by Sylvia Plath, "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg, "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens, and many others. Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Tennessee Williams, to name just a few, have also appeared in Poetry’s pages.

This is my first poem to appear in Poetry over the course of 26 years of writing, and that it coincides with the 10th anniversary of my first collection of Lao American poetry, On The Other Side Of The Eye, I'm left with a particular feeling of happiness over the matter.

Friday, July 07, 2017

2017 Southeast Asian American Studies conference approaching July 27-29, 2017, Lowell, MA

A quick shoutout to Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy and Sue J. Kim and their team for doing so much work to get the 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference pulled together with so many fine talents from academia, the arts, and the community. Be sure to register soon and remember the housing deadline is this Friday, 7/7/17. Don't get stuck camping on someone's lawn.


The Southeast Asian American Studies conference is a national summit of researchers, community organizers, artists, students, service providers, policymakers, community members, and others. The purpose is to reflect on the histories and current states of Southeast Asian American communities and to discuss solutions to the most pressing issues facing Southeast Asians in the U.S. The 2017 conference seeks to highlight Southeast Asian American communities in New England and seek to strengthen bridges between researchers, practitioners/service providers, policymakers, and community members.

 Lowell, Massachusetts, is home to the second largest Cambodian American population in the United States, as well as Vietnamese, Lao, Burmese, and Bhutanese Americans. Nearby Dorchester, MA, and Providence, RI, are home to significant Vietnamese and Lao American populations, respectively. How are the histories and experiences of Southeast Asian Americans in New England and the East Coast similar to and different from other diasporic SEAAs? What new intellectual, political, and cultural formations emerge from considering this region?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest now open! Deadline August 31

Please let folks know the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association Poetry Contest is now open! Both members and non-members can enter! Prizes will be awarded for best poem in 3 categories of speculative poetry:

 Dwarf (poems 1–10 lines [prose poems 0–100 words]);

Short (11–49 lines [prose poems 101–499 words]);

Long (50 lines and more [prose 500 words and up]).

Line count does not include title or stanza breaks. All sub-genres of speculative poetry allowed in any form. Prizes: In each category (Dwarf, Short, Long): $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize, $25 Third Prize. Publication on Poetry Planet (StarShipSofa.com) podcast magazine and on the SFPA website for first through third places.

This year's judge is the award-winning Nikia Chaney, and the contest chair is Mary McMyne! For full details: sfpoetry.com/contests.html



Sunday, July 02, 2017

A Missoula Interlude: 40 Years Later

So, the last time I was in Missoula, Montana was in 1997 or 20 years ago as I had begun my search in earnest for my long-lost family. 

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of when I'd become a US citizen, so naturally when I was passing through Missoula following the 4th National Lao American Writers Summit in Seattle, I decided to take a stop by the old courthouse steps where I'd taken one of my first picture as an American. I was three years old at the time, and it was Flag Day during the American Bicentennial.


As you can see, a few things changed in the meantime. But hopefully it won't be too long before I have a chance to visit Montana again. When I'd first taken the picture, they asked what I wanted for lunch, and I'd replied hot dogs and apple pie. The shop wasn't there anymore this time, but across the street there was a nice spot where I could get a "Prairie Fire" bagel dog and a cup of coffee before hitting the road. That wasn't so bad.


There are some fascinating connections between Missoula and the original resettlement of the Hmong thanks to Jerry Daniels, a former smoke jumper who became one of the key advisors to the CIA's secret army in Laos during the wars for Southeast Asia. But that's a discussion for another time.