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Amy King

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Talking About What We Don’t Talk About: Roundtable with Eunsong Kim, Amy King, Lucas de Lima, Hoa Nguyen, Héctor Ramírez, Metta Sáma, Nikki Wallschlaeger

@ Poetry Foundation

“The quiet confidences, to me, are indicative of a larger understanding at play in the poetry world, and Lehman is only one example of such ‘powerhouses’ who seem to take advantage of that power boldly and blatantly.”
“Whisper campaigns, hit jobs, passive aggressive and aggressive treatments–carried out by poets who feel they can single me out with cruelty because I’m a woman of color and not Ivy league. I’ve experienced this keenly.”
“So I’ve learned I’m going to have to carve my own way in poetry, because I’m not going to compromise my own voice–I mean it’s mine after all. So I took the tools I learned about form and made them work for me.”
“…we’re not asking for the gatekeepers to find the two writers of color that for whatever reason, cannot disagree with the premise of the project, agrees with the premise of the project, or are not positions to reject ‘inclusion.’
In such cases, mirroring the structural establishment in place, people of color are brought in to uphold hegemony—this is neoliberalism, which is fundamentally multicultural (this is Rod Ferguson’s argument). They exist not to interrupt whiteness but to protect it.”
” I wish to say this again, now in the present tense: the members of the US-American avant-garde care more about their careers than they do about the memory of Michael Brown.”
“I don’t want a career in this terrible amalgamation of literature and higher education if it means not only that I’d have to work with racist assholes (what line of work is free of them, after all?) but also that I’d likely have to defend these assholes with my brown body just to fight over their scraps with other people like me (or else, try to keep my head down, bite my tongue, clench my fists, and ignore the assholes as best I can while still keeping my job and my name and my dignity intact). Nah. I want to carve my own way too.”

Tags: Amy King, Eunsong Kim, Héctor Ramírez, Hoa Nguyen, Lucas de Lima, Metta Sáma, Nikki Wallschlaeger

Posted in Featured Blogger on Monday, August 31st, 2015 by Amy King.

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Adam Fitzgerald curated a substantial portfolio at LitHub. From his introduction:

This portfolio cannot and should not be seen as a codification nor totalizing index of Asian or Asian-American poetry. Indeed, there are many incredible writers not mentioned below (Tan Lin and Srikanth Reddy are just two examples). Yet the chance to foreground just some of these resounding poets’ works by their fellow poets seems to me a welcome opportunity to reframe our focus and energy away from attention otherwise swallowed up by the scandals of white trespass. Cultural appropriation continues to thrive in American literature in 2015, but it is still not as alive as these poets, their works, works which continue to interrogate self and society, image and hybridity, translation and nativity, among other infinitudes.

Gratefully, I wrote on KIM HYESOON. An excerpt:

I have never liked beauty for beauty’s sake. Show me a sunset; I want to see the decaying carcass it’s going down on. Speak about the larger-than-life glowing orange moon; I itch to talk about the mechanics of pollution amplifying its rays and how we made it so. We are a gorgeous and cruel species. Poetry that shows me how to hold two or more ideas, supposedly opposing, simultaneously in my head and grapple with their symbiosis, locate their intersections and exchanges, applaud their joint custody of a concept, gives me life. I am charged by the work that actualizes untidy concepts in the visceral; I am challenged by work that undoes underlying assumptions; I am engrossed by the introduction of ideas not meant to meet.

Read the rest at LitHub, among many other amazing entries by poets listed below.  Thanks & please share this wonderful resource.

A.L. Nielsen, Amy King, Andrew Durbin, Arthur Sze, Asian American poetry, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Asian poetry, Barbara Jane Reyes, Bhanu Kapil, Brandon Som, Cathy Linh Che, Cathy Park Hong, Cathy Song, Chialun Chang, Christine Shan, Shan Hou, Christopher Soto, Danez Smith, Divya Victor, Dodie Bellamy, Don Mee Choi, Don Share, Dorothy J. Wang, Evie Shockley, Fatimah Asghar, Franny Choi, Garrett Hongo, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Hoa Nguyen, Jackie Wang, Jane Wong, Janice Lee, Jason Koo, Jennifer Tseng, Jenny Zhang, Johannes Goransson, John Ashbery, John Yau, Joyelle McSweeney, Katie Raissian, Kim Hyesoon, Kim Yideum, Kimberly Alidio, Kundiman, Li-Young Lee, Linda Ashok, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Lucas de Lima, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Melissa Studdard, Metta Sáma, Monica Youn, Myung Mi Kim, Ocean Vuong, Patrick Rosal, poems, Qinglan Wang, Ravi Shankar, Sawako Nakayasu, Sianne Ngai, Solmaz Sharif, Srikanth Reddy, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Suheir Hammad, Suji Kwock Kim, Tan Lin, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Timothy Liu, Trisha Low, Veronica Golos, Vijay Seshadri, Wendy Xu, Wong May, Yi Sang

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PART II @ Poetry Foundation  

“…recognizing that women-identified poets are of intense, even transformative value, despite living in a culture that often devalues the feminine. Each writer sings out an older or no longer living poet who had a personal influence on them. What you will find is a series of anecdotes and lead-ins to the work & personhood of these female poets who have endured and brought forth, for us, words that have deepened, moved, and given us the gift to see otherwise.”

PART II INCLUDES –  Aaminah Shakur, Adrienne Rich, Akilah Oliver, Alejandra Pizarnik, Allan Andre Markman, Allen Gee, Ann Lauterbach, Audre Lorde, Barbara Jane Reyes, Bernadette Mayer, Biswamit Dwibedy,Carolyn Kizer, Cecilia Vicuña, Claudia Rankine, Cole Swensen, Dahlia Ravikovitch, David Tomas Martinez, Denise Levertov, Diane Wakoski,Dorianne Laux, Elynia Ruth Mabanglo, Gene Kwak, Grace Paley,Heather McHugh, Jason Schneiderman, Jessica Rogers, John Keene,John Rufo, Kaaren Kitchell, Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia, Kenzie Allen,Leslie McGrath, Leslie Scalapino, Lori Desrosiers, Margaret Walker,Marianne Moore, Marie Ponsot, Marilyn Nelson, Marina Weiss, Maxine Chernoff, Maxine Kumin, Melissa Studdard, Muriel Rukeyser, Naomi Jackson, Natasha Sajé, Natasha Trethewey, Ntozake Shange, Patricia Smith, Rich Villar, Robin Coste Lewis, Rosanne Wasserman, Ruth Stone, Sabrina Orah Mark, Scott Hightower, Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, Susan Berlin, Vanessa Angelica Villarreal

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“…recognizing that women-identified poets are of intense, even transformative value, despite living in a culture that often devalues the feminine. Each writer sings out an older or no longer living poet who had a personal influence on them. What you will find is a series of anecdotes and lead-ins to the work & personhood of these female poets who have endured and brought forth, for us, words that have deepened, moved, and given us the gift to see otherwise.”

PART I – CON’T @ The Poetry Foundation –

PART I INCLUDES – Alexandra Naughton, Allan Andre Markman, Amber Atiya, Ana Božičević, Anne Carson, Anne-Marie Albiach, Barbara Guest, Beverly Dahlen, Cheryl Clarke, Chrystos, Daniel M. Shapiro, Diane Di Prima,Elizabeth Robinson, Emily Dickinson, Etel Adnan, Frances Badgett,Frank Sherlock, Gloria Frym, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hoa Nguyen, James Meetze, Jayne Cortez, Jeffrey Ethan Lee, Joy Harjo, JP Howard, Judith Roitman, June Jordan, Kate Colby, Kathleen Fraser, Kazim Ali, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Louise Bogan, Louise Gluck, Mari Evans, Melea Seward,Metta Sáma, Michael D. Snediker, Myung Mi Kim, Nikki Wallschlaeger,ohn Gallaher, Olga Broumas, onathan Skinner, Pamela Uschuk, Patricia Goedicke, Rae Armantrout, Rickey Laurentiis, Rita Dove, Sarah Mangold, Stephen Burt, Susan Howe, Tara Betts, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Toi Derricotte, Tory Dent, Wanda Coleman

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EXCERPTS – Full Statements @ Poetry Foundation

In other words, if I had never encountered poetry, I would never have become an activist—that is, if I, a black man who came of age poor and used to buy 5¢ candy with $1 food stamps to get change for the bus, am allowed to determine for myself whether I am anactivist.

Nah. Fuck that. I am an activist. This is my activism.

— Shane McCrae

The prisons are full of black people, immigrants and POC precisely because the reading rooms are filled with white lives, white voices and white supremacist ideologies.

— Amy King

It’s that empty gesture of “political” acknowledgment that is in reality a non-noticing–and this kind of non-noticing is at the heart of racism.

— Jason Koo

How can you fight for your struggle, for basic human rights, if people do not know that your struggle exists? If they do not hear a word about it? Literary activism sounds through the streets and right through those shut doors you mention.

—Jessica Reidy

I am tempted here to explain myself, like so many other times in my life, to gently and disarmingly explain why I, with my history and mistakes and desires, deserve to be a part of the conversation, part of the literary and larger worlds. But, you know what? Fuck that. My work, our work, speaks for itself.

—Lynn Melnick

How carefully are artists and writers of color remembered, and when they cannot properly be recalled, why is it easier to make up names rather than…double check/search the interwebs/ask anyone? This is not a petty question. This is a serious question concerning ethos, positionality, importance, labor and love: who do we remember, who do we make up, who do we cite because we are committed to their ideas—who do we cite as a fleeting justification, who have we memorized—how do we care for the body of their work, let alone their names?

—Eunsong Kim

Smells like brand protection.

—Laura Mullen

You are misnaming and schooling poets of color on the “connection between lived struggles and living poets” which their accounts of literary activism somehow in your view threaten to sever. That this connection appears tenuous to you evidences your privilege; living this connection every day of their lives in America, poets of color are at the very least freed from sharing in your worry.

—Ana Božičević

I’m used to having to outwork my white colleagues just to feel like I belong in the same place as them. I’m used to laying it on thick with the academic register just to preempt their inevitable accusations that my work is not enough. Not academic enough, not “radical” enough, not “correct” enough (not white enough)—just not enough.

—Héctor Ramírez

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Samiya Bashir, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Ana Božičević, Emily Brandt, Ken Chen, Melissa Febos, Suzi F. Garcia, Eunsong Kim, Amy King, Jason Koo, Lynn Melnick, Shane McCrae, Laura Mullen, Héctor Ramírez, Jessica Reidy (Jezmina Von Thiele), Metta Sáma, Melissa Studdard, and Arisa White!

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The Enclave Reading Series returns this month with a powerhouse line-up. The triple brilliance of MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, DARRYL PINCKNEY, and AMY KING all on the same bill.

Saturday October 24
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Cake Shop
152 Ludlow Street, NYC
Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), The Snow Queen, Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown. His new book, A Wild Swan and Other Tales (illustrated by Yuko Shimizu) will be published in November 2015. He lives in New York.

Darryl Pinckney, a longtime contributor to The New York Review of Books, is the author of a novel, High Cotton, and, in the Alain Locke Lecture Series, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature. His new book is Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy.

Amy King’s forthcoming book, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. King joins the ranks of Ann Patchett, Eleanor Roosevelt & Rachel Carson as the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the WNBA Award (Women’s National Book Association). She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is currently co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology, Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She is also co-editing the anthology, Bettering American Poetry 2015, and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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Generally speaking, mainstream populism doesn’t attend to the Woody Allens and Roman Polanskis the way poets attend to poets and poetry. We are regularly told that the issues and conflicts we discuss are so much navel-gazing and to look at the “real world” to witness “real problems.” Poets have classically tasked ourselves with the business of meaning-making, scrutinizing how meaning is made with language—and then attempting to make or conjure it. Critical acuity is cultivated by the very practice of being a poet. How many times have we heard about the poet’s eye? The poet’s ear? The poet’s insight?

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Co-winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize


Nothing that is complicated may ever be simplified, but rather catalogued, cherished, exposed. The Missing Museum spans art, physics & the spiritual, including poems that converse with the sublime and ethereal. They act through ekphrasis, apostrophe & alchemical conjuring. They amass, pile, and occasionally flatten as matter is beaten into text.

Here is a kind of directory of the world as it rushes into extinction, in order to preserve and transform it at once. Poetry needs no one new party to lead it into the fraying future; if we’re in and of the world, let’s raise a revolution as shapeshifters. In other words, this book is about metamorphosis through a radical cherishing. I am ravished by the world, aren’t you?

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Reclaiming Eve, Lilith, Medusa & Kali: Poetry as Pandoric Praxis
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