Tuesday, August 31, 2004

This one's for Aimee Nez

That's right. It's a 41mm tall "Queen" Hello Kitty worth about $95k.

ACK! Barabara!

Sounds like a dish or an island, doesn't it? Well I fixed the spelling. Sorry, Barb, my warrior queen.

The beginning of the school year

It's the start of the new semester. I had to wake up very early this morning . . . 6:30AM early. Anyway, I've always dreaded the coming of the new semester, but once it starts up, I get into a good solid rhythm of writing, reading, grading, and exercising. I think I need the structure.

In fact, it was rather hard generating work this Summer in what was a relatively structureless season. But now, with the onset of these early morning classes and full schedules, I'm making more time to read, write, and think about poetry.

I had my first class this morning. It was in Introduction to Poetry course. I get a lot of students returning to my classes which is both good and bad. On the one hand it makes it easier to remember the names. On the other hand, you can't reissue the same old assignments. So I'll have to put away my crusty old assignments and generate some new ones. This of course will make me a better person, right?


Monday, August 30, 2004

Interesting article

On Pop Matters. I'm one of those CD snobs, you know. I have to have the latest hip CD, but you know . . . people are writing singles and not complete albums nowadays.

I think one other band out there who should get some recognition for making complete albums is The Roots. I love Phrenology and The Tipping Point. A lot of the more fringier Rap groups are making complete albums with a narrative arc versus the pre-fabricated made for radio types.

Grats to two sisters and a bro.

Congratulations to Ate M. Evelina Galang for winning the AWP Award Series in the Novel.

Also congrats to Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Patrick Rosal for the honor of being finalists in the 7th annual Asian American Literary Awards.

Friday, August 27, 2004

It's here! It's here!

At last! The Moroccan rug Meredith and I purchased in Fez arrived today, courtesy of the United States Postal Service. There was a lot of hucksterism when we were there in May, so we were a bit concerned that the rug wouldn't arrive.

Anyway, it's a beautiful piece! Let me try to figure out how to post pictures and I'll show you one.

School days, school days.

I'm still not ready to start the semester. I've got my course materials ready and all that, but I'm not emotionally prepared to hop into the classroom just yet. If only there was another month of summer. What I really should be doing is trying to write, you know? Instead, I've been sucked in to watching the Olympics. I've actually been watching it on Canadian television. They broadcasters on that network had a very interesting perspective on the US Men's basketball team. During the win, one of the commentators suggested lamented a lot of the antics by the Americans on the court. Certainly, it's a perception that's following US citizens in other facets of international interactions.

Anyway, got my contributor copies of North American Review. Barbara Jane's got a poem it. It's VERY cool.

I'll probably go see Supersize Me with Mere tonight. Though what I really want to see is Hero, with Jet Li.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Some fat to chew on . . .

Victoria Chang wrote a response to the managing editor of Fence regarding a poem by Alicia Ostricker. I'm not going to summarize the statements, since I've kindly posted a link with both Victoria's and Eduardo's thorough discussion of the drama.

Anyway, this brings up a very interesting discussion about writers/artists of color and the use of stereotypical images. Ultimately the trouble with language is that there is so much history invested in a particular position's ability to speak. Representations of "Otherness" no matter how artistically or aesthetically accurate are inevitably problematic when generated by a person/group who is gazing.

I do want to add one tidbit to this discussion, though, and that is the idea that this is not only a debate about ethnicity, but we must add that it's also a generational issue. Ostriker's valuable book, Stealing the Language, might be considered, by some, to be dated in its feminist position. But of course, depending on who you are, the issues in that book are still very contemporary.

I'm going to refer back to what Eduardo said, because that's the crux of my position as well. Eduardo elegantly stated that " . . . this poem doesn't problematize the body of colonial literature: creative work written by a member of the dominant culture about a subaltern culture. The images of Mexican field workers or studious Asians in Ostriker's poem are dangerous because these images are yoked with specific intellectual & emotional abilities. Mexican immigrants=field workers=coarse intelligence=base morals=primitive culture." He also said that "if the Ostriker poem would've been written by a writer of color [he] probably wouldn't be objecting to its stereotypical images. This troubles [him]".

So what are we to do as artists, knowing that there is so much force behind the images we create? Knowing this, wouldn't it offer us a wider canvas when we are more judicious with the language we use? Or is this a limitation of an artist's range of possible subject matter? Does this create self-censorship?

Inevitably, the value of Ostriker's poem for my community is that it gets us talking about ourselves as artists. It's problematic to me, but it really makes me think about what I'm doing as a writer. I'm still troubled, but it's good to know that I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Added some friends

Updated the linky links. You'll see our good friend Eduardo Corral and Victoria Chang added to the list. Welcome welcome!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Here it comes again . . .

Yes, it's time for the start of the Fall semester once again. Meredith and I just got back from Oregon this weekend and already I've got a ton of work to do. As soon as we got back, we called Morocco. While I was over there in May, I purchased a Moroccan area rug. It's a gorgeous thing . . . you can flip it over and it'll have a different design. Anyway, with the move and all, it's been a headache coordinating everything. The bottom line is that I paid a lot of money for something that is not in my possession at the moment. The rug dealer reassured Meredith (she's the fluent French speaker) that the rug will be at our place by the end of the month. So cross your fingers.

By the way, have you guys seen Napoleon Dynamite? YOU MUST. That is all.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Home, Home on the Range

Meredith and I are off to Ontario, Oregon to visit my folks. She really wants to go inner-tubing down the Boise River, so I'll see what I can do. Outside of that, the temperature in Boise, ID, is slated to be in the 100's the whole time we're there! Yikes! I'm bringing my swim trunks and packing nothing but shorts.

By the way, our dear friend Pat Rosal has added links to his blogsite! Huzzah!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

KUDOS Ate Evelina!

You'll be hearing more about this soon, but FYI . . . her novel has found a publisher! More details to follow. Congratulations to you, Ate. Well deserved after many years of hard hard work.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Saturday, Saturday

It's the last official day of the Kundiman retreat after a great many successes and a nice heap of stress. Here's a summary of some interesting things that happened during the retreat so far:

1. Marilyn Chin referring to Joseph's physique and couture as being "pornstar-like".

2. Seventeen fellows, three staff members, and four faculty members getting lost in a caravan through the streets of Charlottesville.

3. Gabbing until 3AM with David Mura over some Maker's while snacking on rice crackers and goldfish.

4. A gala reading with the editor of the new Norton Anthology of American Poetry in the house.

5. Mystery meals at the UVA dining hall . . . and then going up for seconds.

6. Several fellows falling in love with Jon Pineda, the patron poet of Margaret.

7. Bushra gushing about the Athletic Center's hot tub.

8. Chi's seven-year-old daughter's obsession with kitties and bunnies.

9. Ishle singing like a goddess.

10. Renee getting hit-on by a bar patron on her birthday.

11. Late night gossip sessions outside of Newcomb Hall after the gala.

12. Bizarre cheerleading drinking games at the Jabberwocky.

13. Getting lost on the way to Cabell Hall.

14. Cardinals.

15. Learning that Margaret at one time was a go-go dancer at a gay men's bar.

16. Rick Barot's Gray Goose and Tonic.

17. Copy card craziness.

18. Sarah's fun and glittery T-shirts.

19. Grande Marinier in the dorm rooms at midnight.

20. Junno bearing a striking resemblance to an Asian James Dean.

21. "Hey Kid/Listen to your uncle."


23. Jon Pineda and Ron Villanueva jamming in my dorm room.

24. Impromptu poems at the Biltmore Grill.

25. David Mura thinking Sarah was cutting Joseph's steak for him.

26. 3AM sing alongs at the picnic table.

27. Group massage!

28. Ching-In's strange obsession with Rick Barot . . .

29. Rick Barot's triangles . . . schemes of making triangle T-shirts.

30. The Babe's of Asian American Poetry calendar idea.

31. My new identity as Papa de la Paz.

32. Stephen's pepper-spray narrative.

33. Again, Stephen . . . first on the list for the cafeteria.

34. Marilyn referring to all the male fellows as dudes.

35. Kenneth.

36. Hyper-air-conditioned dorm rooms.

37. Co-ed bathrooms between Gildersleeve and McGuffy.

38. "Keep your gold"

39. Four-hour workshops with Rick Barot.

40. Six-hour workshops with Ishle Yi Park!

41. The game of "Find Marilyn Chin" for mentorship Saturday.

42. US Air losing David Mura's luggage.

43. Marilyn's flight delayed until 3AM on the first night.

44. Ngoc Luu's poem at the gala.

45. Purvi . . . how she couldn't stop laughing at Stephen's Haiku.

46. Bushra and her campus map.

47. Hyoejin's sweet vehicle.

48. E-3.

49. Key-swapping . . . it's not what you think, right Sarah?

50. Talking constantly about Harold and Kumar going to White Castle.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Joseph to my right, Sarah to my left . . .

I'm sitting in a computer lab on the campus of the University of Virginia at the moment. Sarah Gambito and Joseph Legaspi are with me, furiously clicking away at the keyboard. At the moment, they're giving me a lot of crap . . . teasing, you know.

We met Carolyn Micklem today. She's the executive director of Cave Canem. We gossiped over Southern food and many spirits. Joseph, of course, had two hurricanes (lush . . . j/k).

Anyway, we've been having a great time planning out this first Kundiman retreat. It's a lot of work and Sarah and Joseph have done an AMAZING job with it. We've got eighteen Asian American poets who'll be coming tomorrow for the workshops. I'll keep you all posted.

In the meantime, I'll try to stay cool. You do the same, okay?