September 24, 2019
Huge thanks to Anomaly for giving “Bad Pro-Choicer” a home in their Outside Roe feature folio. This is one of the most difficult but thought-provoking pieces I have ever written. Honestly, it’s a piece I don’t want anyone close to me to read, but it’s also a story that cannot continue to exist in silence. Inspired by Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist,” “Bad Pro-Choicer” explores what being pro-choice is while appearing to have beliefs that seem at odds with pro-choice ideology.
Genevieve Pfeiffer, Assistant Director of Anomaly and curator of the Outside Roe folio, states: “This folio is a protest against silence, against others controlling the narrative. It is about reproductive justice in all forms, for all bodies, across and through all human-made borders. These works include the faces, include the thoughts and daily activities that are so often disregarded.”
Please read all the fierce writing in Anomaly’s Issue No. 29 and in the Outside Roe folio focusing on reproductive justice. Last, I feel like I need to put a trigger warning here for those who need a safe space to read this. It’s heavy. Take your time. I hope it is received with an open mind and heart. Please read “Bad Pro-Choicer” here and share widely.
August 27, 2019
If you’re in the Chicago area October 5th, I’ll be reading an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, “From a Piece of Bamboo,” that was recently published in Outrider Press in affiliation with TallGrass Writers Guild’s anthology, LOON MAGIC and Other Night Sounds, the 24th title in this Black-and-White series. Join me and other writers and poets at the launch party at the Sulzer Regional Library. And if I don’t see you in Chicago, all are welcome to purchase the anthology here. Please share widely.
June 5, 2019
Slated for publication on October 15, 2019, observed as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, my piece, “Blighted,” will appear in What God Is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color (University of Minnesota Press), edited by Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang.
Details About the Book:
What God Is Honored Here? is the first book of its kind—and urgently necessary. This is a literary collection of voices of Indigenous women and women of color who have undergone miscarriage and infant loss, experiences that disproportionately affect women who have often been cast toward the margins in the United States of America.
From the story of dashed cultural expectations in an interracial marriage to poems that speak of loss across generations, from harrowing accounts of misdiagnoses, ectopic pregnancies, and late-term stillbirths to the poignant chronicles of miscarriages and mysterious infant deaths, What God Is Honored Here? brings women together to speak to one another about the traumas and tragedies of womanhood. In its heartbreaking beauty, this book offers an integral perspective on how culture and religion, spirit and body, unite in the reproductive lives of women of color and Indigenous women as they bear witness to loss, search for what is not there, and claim for themselves and others their fundamental humanity. Powerfully and with brutal honesty, they write about what it means to reclaim life in the face of death.
Editors Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang acknowledge “who we had been could not have prepared us for who we would become in the wake of these words,” yet the writings collected here offer insight, comfort, and, finally, hope for all those who, like the women gathered here, have found grief a lonely place.
Contributors: Jennifer Baker, Michelle Borok, Lucille Clifton, Sidney Clifton, Taiyon J. Coleman, Arfah Daud, Rona Fernandez, Sarah Agaton Howes, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Soniah Kamal, Diana Le-Cabrera, Janet Lee-Ortiz, Maria Elena Mahler, Chue Moua, Jami Nakamura Lin, Jen Palmares Meadows, Dania Rajendra, Marcie Rendon, Seema Reza, 신선영 Sun Yung Shin, Kari Smalkoski, Catherine R. Squires, Elsa Valmidiano.
Interest in ordering it presale can be found here. Please share widely.
More big news: my lyrical prose and essay collection, We Are No Longer Babaylan, is slated for publication in Fall 2020/Spring 2021. A recipient of the Editors’ Choice selection from the 2018 Many Voices Project competition in Prose sponsored by New Rivers Press at Minnesota State University Moorhead, this will be my debut essay collection.
The selected winner for the Many Voices Project competition in Prose was People Want to Live by Farah Ali, and fellow Editors’ Choice selection was You May Have the Suitcase Now by Beaudelaine Pierre, both also slated for publication in Fall 2020/Spring 2021.
I am extraordinarily grateful for the diversity of our voices being recognized and represented here. As a woman of color, our stories are oftentimes not seen in the mainstream so I’m honored to share the floor with Farah Ali and Beaudelaine Pierre. I hope you read our stories as I imagine these stories aren’t easy to tell and at times can take so much out of us. We’re making a dent.
More information about the Many Voices Project Winners can be found here. Please share widely.
January 2, 2019
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My creative nonfiction piece, “Tbilisi,” makes its appearance in Cosmonauts Avenue in its Special Anniversary issue. Happy 4th Anniversary, Cosmonauts Avenue! Honored to be part of the Cosmonauts family and be part of the celebration!
“Blighted” has not only been nominated for a Best of the Net, but it has gone on to be nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Mud Season Review. Thank you, Mud Season Review, for my first Pushcart nomination. Always a pleasure to read Mud Season and all of the great work the journal features. Feels like a win in itself to be counted and seen, especially being nominated for a story covering the often silenced and sensitive subject of miscarriage by a woman of color. The timing couldn’t have been more relevant with Michelle Obama giving her own personal attention on the matter in her new memoir, Becoming. Yes to all of this.
Last, “Under the Ivy,” an excerpt from my novel From a Piece of Bamboo, makes its appearance in The Precipice Collective’s debut anthology, Precipice: Writing On The Edge (McNaughton & Gunn). So honored to be part of this labor of love. With its unique anthology structure weaving meditation and writing exercise, the prompt of the anthology’s submission call had asked:
“How do we explore the edge in order to learn, to listen (sound in shift, an echo distilled)? How do we experience feedback—resonance and residue—as writers, researchers, beings? In what ways are we mediums, conduits, and transmitters for our environment? Can our writing be the medium, or is it always the translation? When we linger on the edge how does our presence shift the gradient? Do we pass the words or do the words pass through? How can the writer learn the membrane by embodying the edge? If words are energetic architectures inhabitable in the reading of a text, then can they be used to translate the language of a landscape? As bodies return to land, to carbon, how does breath-memory haunt? In exorcising place do we suspend space-time?”
The official launch party with open site for purchases will follow shortly. And for educators out there, resources for teaching/workshopping with the text and a place for readers to contribute—to continue the conversation—will be on the Precipice-Collective website at: http://www.precipice-collective.org/writing-at-the-edge/.
Stay tuned for updates in the coming months!
September 27, 2018
September has been a social, eventful, and pretty cool month. My memoir piece about my miscarriage, “Blighted” has been nominated for Best of the Net by Mud Season Review. “Blighted” is also set to appear in an anthology about miscarriage and infant loss for and by women of color, What God Is Honored Here, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2019. As a note, “Blighted” was rejected 9 times before it found its home with Mud Season Review, and just a little tip: when your valuable story needs to be told, a rejection will not stop it from being ultimately shared with the world.
Another memoir piece, “Tbilisi” has been shortlisted for the Cosmonauts Prize in Nonfiction currently being judged by Ocean Vuong. No final results have been posted yet but it’s an honor being recognized. I think of Jenny Zhang who was my Summer Literary Seminars instructor in Tbilisi this past summer (which explains the choice for the aforementioned title) and who provided the valuable prompt from which this piece was born during a khinkali lunch with my husband where I furiously wrote “Tbilisi” in 30 minutes and submitted it that same evening. Brilliance can take decades, three dozen rejections, or just a lunch poem to happen. Always trust a lunch break.
Last, I’ve been having these epic girl dates with some epic multimedia Pinay artists lately who have provided valuable insight on, well, pretty much everything. Shout out to Jean Véngua in Monterey, Lyn Pacificar in East Hollywood, and Fides Enriquez in Napa. Besides the long road trips to their abode/art studios, they have been well worth the trek to be showered with love, enlightenment, hours-long damn good conversation, and a little bit of magic. I joke about hanging out for 8 hours after the first hour has passed, until the 8th hour suddenly creeps up and arrives all too soon. Even after 8 hours, we’re still just getting started. While one may be wondering what value is there in sharing this gone-gallivanting news, it’s definitely worth sharing, especially when writing tends to lean toward hermitage at times. Another little tip: Don’t forget to hang out with your sisters.
August 27, 2018
“Every Possible Scenario” was recently named a Runner-Up in the 2018 #GUNS AND PEOPLE Essay Contest sponsored by Memoir Magazine. In creating this contest, Memoir Magazine Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mary McBeth shares these words:
Stories power movements. We hope these stories will inspire readers to act on behalf of all those who have fallen to the gun. That they will contribute to the evolution of a new sober more loving nation and strike the crucial balance between protecting the rights of citizens to own firearms where appropriate, while also protecting the rights of children, depressed individuals, and all citizens to be free from random violence.
“Every Possible Scenario” is now up. Please read here and share.
October 9, 2017
What is it about her artist smile
who uses her hand to paint
sashes of dark blue
celestial bodies when
the world is going to shit
– from “Oakland Muralist”
You can read the rest of the poem at Yes, Poetry.
“Guava Picking” was inspired by walks spent with my folks during weekend visits back in my LA neighborhood in the quaint city of Carson.
Images: Oakland Peace Center Mural (photos courtesy of Yunnie Tsao Snyder, 2016)
“Oakland Muralist” was inspired by the amazing visionary work of Trinidad Escobar and Yunnie Tsao Snyder, who together form a two witch-warrior-woman team of muralists in Oakland called 3 Realms Collective. In and around the time they were working on the Oakland Peace Center Mural, Black Lives Matter protests were taking place all over Berkeley and Oakland as well as the rest of the country, and then the tragic event of the Ghost Ship fire in Fruitvale had rocked Oakland shortly thereafter. The spiritual/physical/emotional energy it took for Trinidad and Yunnie to finish the Oakland Peace Center Mural in the midst of the events surrounding them had been beyond measure, and so “Oakland Muralist” is dedicated to them. You can learn more about their work at 3 Realms Collective here.
Please enjoy and share. xoxo