Please join me at San Luis Obispo’s Indie Author Day. I’ll be signing books and giving a short poetry reading. My reading will take place around 12:00 p.m., and there will be other writers reading their works throughout the event.
When: Saturday, October 21, 2017 (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
Where: San Luis Obispo Public Library (995 Palm St.)
This event is free to the public.
“Here is a lesson in creative writing.
First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I’m kidding.
For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I’m kidding.
We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I’m kidding.
If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
~ from A Man Without a Country
I’m honored to announce the publication of my poem “Fourteen” in The Suburban Review #8, Summer 2017 issue. Available now online.
The sonnet is one of my favorite forms—a compact love song that packs a punch. In “Fourteen,” I used this traditional form to explore a contemporary subject. This poem is about a fourteen year-old girl whom, motivated by boredom, decides to experiment sexually without grasping the magnitude of such acts or her own developing sexual powers. [read poem, page 27]
The Suburban Review is a literary collective based in Melbourne, Australia. A quarterly digital journal of short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and art. Digital issues are AU$7.00 each.
I’m honored to announce the publication of two poems from my Vietnam series in the “Vietnam Forever,” 5th Anniversary double issue of Perfume River Poetry Review by Tourane Poetry Press in San Jose, California.
For this poem, I highlighted the collection of scenes from the market place as representatives of a larger reality. Post-war Vietnam, where the transfer of wealth from one privileged class to another had created incomprehensible poverty and deficit, was “the worst of times.” People haggled over the price of one green mango and one liter of fish sauce. A toy pot made of clay was considered a luxury item. And when human and cultural survival is under such an attack, sometimes it’s necessary to pretend not to see the disturbing things right in front of you (just as the child in the poem pretended not to see the fly walked across the old woman’s eyes) in order for life to press onward. By showing these scenes through a child’s lens, I remove politics from the narrative, making the political personal. War is personal. Hunger is personal. [read poem, page 21]
This poem is as much a tribute to my wanderlust father as it is a tribute to the place that we both love. Vũng Tàu on the South China Sea was once bright and full of colors, but now only lives as an ideal backdrop for daydreams. Written as a blank verse, I wanted to use the structure of the traditional form to capture the rhythm of the sea, which was the constant heartbeat beneath the skin of all our narratives. [read poem, page 23]
I have decided to do a double issue for our fifth anniversary. One issue will explore Vietnamese culture, celebrate our heritage, and give voice to what it means to be Vietnamese. The second issue will be a tribute to Vietnam War veterans and survivors, whose stories need to be told and need to be heard—now more than ever. As there must be time for war and a time for peace, there too must an issue for war and one that allows poems to sing about Vietnam. Print issues are $15 each.
I’m honored to announce the publication of my poem “Making Love on the Roof” Summer 2017 issue of The Boiler Journal. This issue is available free online.
On a city rooftop, two people try to find momentary relief from loneliness by surrendering their bodies to each other—to the possibility of something different. Away from the rooftop, the man writes poetry about a woman named Ruth, and the woman makes mock turtle stew; but on the roof they play the parts of strangers clutching to connect with someone in the world. [read poem]
Began by a group of writers at Sarah Lawrence College, The Boiler Journal is an online quarterly that publishes fresh and lively works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from emerging and established authors.
I’m honored to announce the publication of my poem “Conversations with the Diocese of the Desert” in issue no. 15 of 3Elements Literary Review, Summer 2017. This issue is available free online.
About “Conversations with the Diocese of the Desert”
For this issue, contributors were tasked to use the words “temple,” “yard sale,” and “visitation” in a poem. In Biblical writings, a visitation is defined as the divine investigation or inspection of person’s character and deeds with a view to apportioning to them their due lot, whether of reward or of chastisement; divine dispensation of mercy or of punishment. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) Inspired by this word and a strange dream about abandoned lawn chairs in the desert, I created a narrative about a woman who goes to the desert to seek answers. On a lawn chair, facing the dawning of a new day and a person whom she believes to be holy, she asks all her relevant and irrelevant questions, but receives no holy answers in return. Discovery, after all, is only achieved through repeated self-questioning. [page 47]
3Elements Literary Review is an independent literary journal, publishing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography. Please show your support by visiting the website.