Never / reaching orgasm, / the colony names its price and I, / hot cent of foreign cash, / sell it slant. Daughters / say it with ozone: my sex is a metaphor / for too much / good luck.
Be calm. Soon / we will bear sentimentality, scent / what is lost in these cells with carrion, / asphodel, turpentine, forsythia / blooming somewhere in the dark.
Sandra Bland, reparations for British imperialism, building solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, and more.
I didn’t expect him to smile and say, “I love you,” as Americans did. I had never seen him smile and I would never expect him to embrace me; he never had. But perhaps there was some way—some subtle, casual way—that he could acknowledge my worth.
When did I first realize my parents were not infinite? / That I could see the end of them? Past their capes & catchphrases?
Beloved Nintendo president passes, body shaming Serena Williams, and fighting the “model minority” myth
eating crabs with your fingers pre-Spanish fork and spoon and pre-KFC native chicken you can be served by dancing feathered natives that is true it all tastes good
Celebrating America, appropriating kimonos, a badass Desi henchwoman, and much more on this week’s roundup from the interweb
‘The image of my small life without the young man was one of a library with its doors locked, or simpler and more terrifying, that of a book with half its pages missing.’
Writer-artist-professor Tan Lin talks fictive relatives, the narrative of an immigrant TV culture, and ‘becoming Chinese’ in America
how to be clear as the earth without clinging to the sand? / flowing through my hands like water / one seed clings to my palm
Queer Asian American history, “racist Asians,” Bobby Jindal’s shaky start, and two landmark birthdays
‘Our apartment, our home, became an unfamiliar space. We still slept in the same queen bed, but no longer did we speak of upgrading to the capacious king. We could now easily fit two additional people in the valley of the bedsheet between us.’
‘in the haiku I send her / and the silence she sends back, / hell no, nan da yo, / call it off, snap it shut, trash / it, just let it be, let me be’
The author of the bestselling novel The Sympathizer talks about reshaping histories of the Vietnam War and finding humanity in the inhuman.
“The month in question was April, the cruelest month. It was the month in which a war that had run on for a very long time would lose its limbs, as is the way of wars.”
Bhargava, the late director of award-winning film Patang, reminisces about growing up in Chicago and his fascination with India’s festival of kites.
She petrified her / Secrets. “About what?” / That she’s been chosen. / “She chose silence.” How? / “Like the light, deeply / Fissured.
Grappling with Black deaths, tackling Western literary thought, celebrating Ramadan, and more.
Gene Oishi, author of the novel Fox Drum Bebop, reflects on the Japanese American story beyond the wartime experience.
Poet Don Mee Choi discusses the myth of fluency and what happens when translation is allowed to be hysterical
How scared God must have been / when the woman who ate all the fruit of the tree he’d planted / was cutting out each red body from / between her legs
‘Perhaps it was not what he did so much as how he put it. He insisted on “killed” not “terminated.” He refused “vertical chamber apparatus” in favor of the lurid “pit of despair.” But he also called love “love.” What reason was there to pretend otherwise?’
What recent race scandals by avant-garde poets Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place have to do with sunglasses, the invention of the fingerprint, and the atom bomb.
“In my desire to be Nude / I clothed myself in fire:— / Burned down my walls, my roof / Burned all these down.”
‘Over the past three years, the desert had become Hiroshi’s home. Hacienda seemed very far away to him, both in terms of time and distance, and he didn’t want to go back.’ An excerpt from Gene Oishi’s Fox Drum Bebop
Such atonalities / caught floating through four centuries / in flagrant delicto bear witness
The writer discusses China before and since Tiananmen, abandoned enemy spies, and how solidarity will build a nation.
‘As children, she liked purple, I liked pink. She liked turkey, I liked ham. She liked American cheese, I liked Swiss.’
swimming six thousand feet to the surface / the lights lure curiosity / from a sudden clearing / to the gingerbread house / where a hand has lighted the wick
Upon entering a shrine, it seems to hold ghosts / The belly of an abbess suggests pregnancy / Behind a heavy curtain, the suggestion of people
They send flowers before guns now / all the thorns plucked from the stems. / An order to weave the dirge / before the mortar sings.
TV as a battleground for diversity, JiHAE’s newest video, the lack of AA tech execs, and more.
‘The Korean community has a special name for the LA riots: Sa-I-Gu, Four-Two-Nine, the day it all began.’
At the short end of Bombay’s boom-to-bust cycle
Obama on emojis, Pacquiao v. Mayweather, protests on the Japanese Prime Minister, and more.
If these are ghosts, trace them / in the dismal notes of the gutter, / the window’s drumming murmur
I was the smell of ripe lemons in his oxbone nation. I was never / brave. But, he let me eat butter, held me like an egg.
I will float down the stream / until it ends. / Until it ends, the mines avoid me.
The Australian comedian chats about Iggy Azalea, why he doesn’t write jokes for white people, and the power of post-9/11 comedy.
The novelist talks about his favorite samurai movies, the violence of imperialism, and his struggle to remember Japan
I live inside this world that lives inside / me: in this dream, there is nowhere to hide.
Tasty Chinese-Mexican food, Zayn’s post-One Direction plans, review of The Sympathizer, and more.
One night, I said, I wish I could tattoo myself onto you.
“Every word becomes dangerous when words fall into a wave of social movements.”
“The mother, seeing her one-armed son standing in the doorway, was not surprised. It was as she had foreseen.”
Body-shaming culture, Purdue’s new cultural center, representation in video games, and more.
My mother left my father more than once. A favorite / family tradition observed when I was four. / Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Leaving is easier / the second time.
Bushra Rehman’s “Two Truths and a Lie” writing workshop was held up at gunpoint last fall. Three writers tell the story of what happened and join a conversation about gentrification and police violence in NYC.
The relationship of food and culture, an interview with Kevin Na, the poorly conceived #RaceTogether campaign, and more.
Rage dented the silver / trashcan / “fire-crack” or “schrack”
Peek behind the scenes on an Asian American foodie adventure, attend boba school, learn where New Orlean’s two Chinatowns went, and more.
How the feel-good politics of multiculturalism have blinded the literary world to the roots of racial inequality
I went to see what people are really like / in a thousand human ways.
Nina Pham’s path towards recovery, the legacy Momofuku Ando leaves behind, Jin’s comeback story, and more.
The work of nine ekphrastic poets
In a country where every other street corner, rice field, or pagoda is potentially the former site of a mass crime, how Cambodia has imagined collective reparations after the Khmer Rouge
I should have pinned you / to that wall, but you have walked already / out of that drawn-on door.
The 2015 Caldecott Honor-winning artist talks about adoption, race, and visibility in the coming-of-age graphic novel This One Summer.
A conversation about humor, race, and the search for decolonized jokes
Coming to terms with grief after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
Amarnath Ravva’s American Canyon gravitates between Northern California and South India as he reenacts rituals and shares histories of both his homes.
A poem in memory of Eric Garner: “No offense, Officer, if I don’t / take to your charm offensive, or is / it your offensive charm”
Toronto-based graphic novelist Elisha Lim talks about the people behind their latest book 100 Crushes, their Singaporean-Catholic aversion to gluttony, and what jealousy is really about.
With alluring and peculiar prose and a playfully erratic approach to structure, Ghalib Islam’s debut novel mirrors the anxiety of buckling under the burden of surveillance.
“In the smoke, they forget their bare feet / as they see their faces more clearly than ever… No trial can strike down / their small and fragile umbrellas.”
The National Book Award finalist and author of An Unnecessary Woman talks about mothers, thievery, and his homebody fabulousness.
“I fear that we’ll remember Fred’s evocative style, but forget his penetrating political substance.” On remembering what not to forget.
Cathy Linh Che talks about her debut collection of poems, Split, and what it means to mimic flashbacks of war, immigration, and sexual violence.
The artist and illustrator of Skim and This One Summer talks about the tension of tween-hood, body types in mainstream comics, and why purple is the warmest color.
An interview with R.A. Villanueva on getting published, what a good GIF and a good poem have in common, and the right way to pronounce GIF
Treating the invisible wounds of America’s violent past, Rajkamal Kahlon edges closer to finding peace in herself.
Killed by the Gestapo 70 years ago, today, special agent Noorunisa Inayat Khan inspires with messages in code. A reflection and poem.
I interviewed Michael DeForge and all I got was a story about needles in a urethra.
Ferguson and readings on anti-black racism, Asian Americans, and complicity
Resident comics expert Anne Ishii hangs out with kickass Toronto-based comics publisher Annie Koyama.
Superheroes of color, Arabelle Sicardi, sci-fi films from the global south, Molly Crabapple’s Abu Dhabi, Ferguson, n+1 takes on Tao Lin, and more.
An interview with spoken word duo DarkMatter on radical desis, the legacy of Partition, Twitter poems and The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“Fred Ho flooded my ears with essential facts about the history of Afro-Asian political and cultural struggle”
Shyam Selvadurai’s latest novel reckons with the violence that haunts the lives of many in post-war Sri Lanka.
What the marginalization of Asian Americans in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery says about the appropriation of “cool.”
How Bollywood demo musician Charanjit Singh peered into the future of electronic music
The sounds of Taipei, from farting mopeds to bustling night markets, unfold through tracks by Joy Division, Asobi Sekksu, Dum Dum Girls and more
“It’s always easier to fast with another person. We feed each other our hunger.”
A look back at the history behind ‘American Born Confused Desi’ and where it’s gone since
A group of artists, writers, and musicians led by Kelly Tsai is teaming up to put on a multi-media performance based on the work of Ai Weiwei
Mia Kang interviews filmmaker J.P Chan about his latest film, and casting Asian actors in lead roles
A review of Matthew Olzmann’s Mezzanines
Yuri’s indefatigable effort to build solidarity among all activists and oppressed people is what many will likely see as the hallmark of her legacy.
What time and place can call you home? are you an epiphany? a question? / Is it something / you only pretended to welcome, something you’ve come to regret?
An interview with writer and former editor-in-chief of Missbehave magazine Mary H.K. Choi
How to say milk? How to say sand, snow, sow, / linen, cloud, cocoon, or albino?
I don’t teach my girls / to brave the violence of sun, sons, or stings. / When resources run out, don’t sit there and behave. / Abandon hive.
When Stockton, California was the capital of Filipina/o America. An interview with Dawn Mabalon on the lost history of Filipinos in the organized labor movement, and the stories of women that went untold.
“Eyes will return tonight / with their ghosts / in the shape of tombstones.” On the 25th anniversary of June 4th, 1989.
I look up at the trees. / Like me, they have disrobed. / They have disarmed me
In response to the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown of 1989, the Asian American Arts Centre organized a landmark exhibition of artworks. To commemorate the protest’s 25th anniversary, The Margins partnered with Creative Time Reports to interview the artists involved.
A review of Tarfia Faizullah’s debut poetry collection Seam, and an interview with the poet
“…I was more apprentice than student, and he was more family than friend. Our time together bridged the waters of music and delved into politics, healing, life, and death.”
In 1999, Fred Ho reflected on his political and musical evolution, from the Asian American Movement on.
“Spock was good in math and science; so was I. Spock tended to suppress his emotions (his human side), and so did I.” Fred Ho on coming of age.
A former student recalls the ups-and-downs of Ho’s cult of personality.
Colleagues, collaborators, and friends remember political and musical visionary Fred Ho.
To succeed in America means that at some level you’ve made peace with its rather ugly past. Vijay Iyer’s speech to Yale’s Asian American alumni
A review of Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know
In a collection of poetry and prose, writers respond to the work of Bengali photographers exhibited in Eyes on Bangladesh
Abeer Hoque interviews a celebrated Bangladeshi documentary photographer whose work recently made its way to an exhibit in New York City
Vijay Prashad at the Brecht Forum. Plus, how Kumar Goshal (1899-1971) carved out a theory of US imperialism in the African American press.
“Someone is stalking Whitney Houston and I have been hired to be her bodyguard”—an excerpt from Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing
An interview with Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life, on how to write a novel that has no plot, literary modernism’s influence, and remembering India
“While a part of me was glad I wasn’t like my brother, no part of me wished to be more fortunate than my mother.”
Gaiutra Bahadur unearths buried stories of indenture—those of women who battled rigid patriarchy on either side of the black water.
Lessons on how life in the US was worth much more if spent in solidarity with those who suffer at its heel
Cultural critic Vijay Prashad and legal scholar Aziz Rana discuss the legacy of multiculturalism, and what’s left of third-world solidarities.
With the novelist who long thought she was a Korean American impostor
The author of Picking Bones from Ash on Japanese Buddhism, tsunami survivors, and her trip into the “exclusion zone”
“Asian American Poetry” is not a manageable category—it is not a list.
How fear of the “the mob” turned into racial exclusion. Excerpts from a recently published archive of anti-Asian fear
The L.A.-based music critic-scholar on border crossing, his “West Coast vibe”, and why we should leave the guilt and take the pleasure
From Ibn al-Nadim’s Kitāb al-Fihrist to Al-Mutanabbi Street
An excerpt from Chang-rae Lee’s On Such A Full Sea
Where the “Yellow Peril incarnate” meets one novelist’s depictions of China and its diaspora in the early 20th century
An interview with the exiled Chinese poet on writing from prison, false patriotism, and the responsibility of intellectuals
We were both Ahab; the difference was that Einstein, when he set out on the ink-black sea, knew not what monster he had been pursuing.
An interview with author Phong Nguyen on his latest book, Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History
My palms cannot hold back the shifting currents. / They can slap a rhythm, hoist / a banner, hold / your face tenderly between them
Remembering Agha Shahid Ali, 12 years after his passing
An interview with poet Tung-Hui Hu
Salman Rushdie’s multitudes, from his visionary early work to the celebrity he has become
I hate you, poem, for wanting to know the truth. / The truth is, I trusted the sky. / Trusted it wouldn’t throw things at us
The rivers / and trenches glossed with light / know we are so relentless as to plan / for catastrophe
An excerpt from Coolie Woman, Gaiutra Bahadur’s new book about hidden histories of indentured labor migration
100 years on, how lessons from the Ghadar movement show the limits of civil rights efforts in the US today.
The key to enjoying the jubilant, fleshy dread of Feng Sun Chen’s supercut poem is appreciating what one might call the bodily turn in poetry.
Poetic responses to the literature of the Ghadar movement
On the centenntial of its founding, a short history of the Ghadr Party, and the ghosts that live on
A photojournalist returns to his ancestral home to capture what is left of a long history of migration between China and the US.
The salty snacks, unlikely yarns, and auspicious readings at this year’s AAWW food and books festival
“It had always been that one of Norton’s fondest dreams—the dream, I think, of many brilliant and overextended men—was that one month, or one year, he’d find himself in a warm place with absolutely no commitments.”
This Iranian American novelist wants to live forever.
The author of The Boss thinks she might be the only person left on this planet without an iPod—but her poems are certianly full of music.
A taste of what’s in store at this year’s Page Turner Festival
Rahul Mehta and new pathways for the hyphenated writer
The legacy of an intellectual friendship in an age of Islamophobia—on the 10-year anniversary of Said’s death.
Notes for a hypothetical interview with the author re: Taipei, living in the present, memory, moral responsibility, technology, zen, etc.
Bill Cheng, Anthony Marra, and the freedom to write what you don’t know.
A look at entertainment lawyer Helen Wan’s debut novel, The Partner Track.
Swati Marquez interviews Bushra Rehman on her new work of fiction, Corona
Bill Cheng talks us through his five favorite blues musicians, and how their work inspired his debut novel.
This New York-based poet once dreamt of being a trapeze artist.
An excerpt from Sinan Antoon’s novel, “The Corpse Washer”
On Sunday afternoons, you may often find poet Kazim Ali at the roller rink.
V.V. Ganeshananthan interviews Soman Chainani about his new bestselling children’s book, The School for Good and Evil.
A native son of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, the author of the Detective Jack Yu series makes a mean pitcher of Bloody Mary.
Watch the conversation between the BaoHaus bad boy and the Hot 97 host
Where Asian Americans fall in our broken criminal justice system
Asian American Writers’ Workshop cofounder Marie Myung-Ok Lee kicks off our new weekly Q&A series with writers.
Four Poems by Victoria Chang
Actor, writer, and father Randall Park shares an hour on the phone with Ashok Kondabolu, recalling his childhood in LA and how he stumbled into acting.
Jessica Hagedorn writes about the city of her birth, where “either nothing surprises you, or everything does.”
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, inquiring into a poetics emerging from the adopted diasporic condition, guest-curates a portfolio of poems for The Line Break.
A man in search of his ex-lover looks back on his coming of age—from Manil Suri’s pre-apocalyptic novel set in Mumbai
In his musical operatic tribute to the former first lady of the Philippines, David Byrne leans on pop psychology to tell the story of the “steel butterfly.”
“It’s a little terrifying to be so influential. By which I mean, it’s really moving to have these wonderful writers come and share my work with all of you.”
Lesser known facts about the celebrated author—from his days sweating ad copy to his latest gig as a television screenwriter
Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist catches up with documentary photographer Annie Ling at her Brooklyn apartment.
In three decades, the United States will have a “majority-minority” population. We asked four artists to consider this demographic shift. Here is Oyama Enrico Isamu Letter, an abstract artist and painter who draws on the visual elements of graffiti culture.
“I suddenly noticed an odor in the air. It was sweet and persistent but not at all unpleasant. I took a deep breath and let myself be guided by the smell.”
“Nut was hungry. Nut had to move.” Originally self-published in 1935, this hallucinatory, quasi-experimental novel follows the peripatetic musings of a young man throughout a single day in Depression-era New York.
Scholar Vivek Bald chronicles an early lost history of a time of Black-Bengali racial solidarity
Ocean Vuong, in search of the “new erotic,” guest-curates a portfolio of poems in time for Valentine’s Day.
“I logged onto the Internet and searched for others like me. I never found them, but I invited them over to my hotel room anyway.”
“The commodity aesthetic of cuteness, the discursive aesthetic of the interesting, and the performative aesthetic of zaniness help us get at some of the most important social dynamics underlying life in late capitalist society today.”
Link bait for hump day.
In three decades, the United States will have a “majority-minority” population. We asked four artists to consider this demographic shift. Sharing his vision of 2050 is Jeff Ng, a designer better known as jeffstaple and the founder of Staple Design.
In three decades, the United States will have a “majority-minority” population. We asked four artists to consider this demographic shift. Here is Jaret Vadera, an interdisciplinary artist based in New York and interested in the hidden structures of power.
Baohaus bad boy and Workshop board member Eddie Huang reads from his new memoir tonight. Where will you be?
In an excerpt from a forthcoming book, English professor Min Song reflects on undergraduate “Great Books” courses, the Helen Vendler-Rita Dove debate, and the first time he read a Siu Sin Far story.
Cultural critic Rey Chow discusses her new book—including how the acclaimed Austrian filmmaker’s “staging of the extreme” gestures toward the pornographic.
In three decades, the United States will have a “majority-minority” population. We asked four artists to consider this demographic shift. First up is An Xiao Mina, a designer and artist who focuses on the role of technology in building communities.
An interview with journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai, whose book Scattered Sand tells the stories of Chinese migrant workers—direct from their mouths.
The two comics chat with fellow comedian Jen Kwok about emergency generators, censorship, and the most-viewed YouTube video in Pakistan.
Originally published in Japanese in 1925, this naturalist noir masterpiece follows itinerant day laborer Ishikawa Sazuko as he prowls the back alleys of Los Angeles, looking for a meal, a job, or just some companionship. With an introduction by translator Andrew Leong.
Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, on why a feline companion might make you a better writer.
“I have a mole on the bottom of my foot, and some of my more superstitious relatives told me that if you have a mole on the sole of one foot, you’ll always yearn to visit new places more than most.”
Whiting Award-winner Alexander Chee on post-its, the virtues of retyping, and committing to the process.
Orhan Pamuk and Mo Yan, Noble Prize winners in Literature, were both writers-in-residence at the prestigious International Writing Program. An interview with IWP’s current director about one of the program’s founders, the remarkable Chinese novelist Hualing Nieh.
Following in the footsteps of Dorothea Lange, who photographed stoic, suffering faces during the Depression, the Chinese-born artist traveled across recession-worn America, capturing a different sort of face.
Buwei Yang Chao’s famed 1945 cookbook helped coined the phrase “stir-fry.” “Wrapling” and “rambling,” her words for the simple and ruffle-edged dumplings, were less successful.
“I want a literature that is not made from literature.”
Stereogum editor Amrit Singh has a hang with Das Racist hypeman Ashok Kondabolu. Proper nouns mentioned: George Washington, Britney Spears, Jenny Slate (a.k.a. the “Marcel the Shell” girl), and C. Mohan (Bollywood’s most iconic designer).
It’s the year 2352, and the Walrusoids are at it again, speculating over divorce, SB 1070, some tall Asian guy named Jeremy Lin, and movie theater masturbation.
Fellow sci-fi writer Vandana Singh quizzes the award-winning, short-fiction master on his axiomatic approaches, paradigm shifts, and whether he would ever own a digient.
“Our Mordor was the same. Our Frankenstein was the same. Our Tinker Bell was the same. We didn’t have to imagine Davy Jones—a graphics company in Silicon Valley was manufacturing him for us. We all picked our visuals from the universal pool. The individual monster was dead.”
In an interview about his new book, State Out of the Union, author Jeff Biggers examines Arizona, the so-called “meth lab of democracy,” and the rogue state’s cycles of repression and resistance.
“The first real song I wrote was a book report for Lord of the Flies.”
“I absolutely did not set out to write a lesbian Cinderella. It wasn’t the story I intended to tell, so it took me a while to come around to the idea of telling it.”
The journalist and debut fiction writer chats with fellow Grantland writer Hua Hsu about his new neo-noir novel, grading papers, and Duck Down videos.
Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist interviews Anil Dash, the blogger and technologist, at Financier Patisserie, near Astor Place.
Qiu Miaojin—one of the first openly lesbian writers in ’90s post-martial-law Taiwan—committed suicide at the age of 26. What follows is an excerpt from her “survival manual” for a younger generation. With an introduction by translator Bonnie Huie.