“I don’t think that writers choose their subjects. I think they choose us. I think they step out of history books, off the sidewalk, or from a near future, and they say, ‘Hey, fool, you’ll be writing this one!'”
I loved them all and everything / they thought about so much and I was out / of my mind by then, not with grief or disgust / but with beauty
I am thinking / Of a burnt cathedral, which / Has nothing to do with actual death.
her story—a bone-white line across her throat. / Given enough time, she says, are all stories / not ghost stories?
Is not house, not kitchen, not ceiling. Spanish chandeliers as old and intricate as iron.
I am // just trying to sleep. To feed. To fill / myself and grow larger from it.
What / saint-kissed relics shall I take with me, what shall serve as capstones for the / humble churches I’ll build in the parking lots of the American dream?
I was the writer in my life / and where did it get me / is not a line from an Army manual
hong kong a neon neckline, long hair glittering / with ship-lights, crystal balls, storm velvets. / it’s her life, yet I had come, and grown / my hair, and happened upon the eastern sun / like a moon.
Now, I’m lost in the woods thinking of Noy. / Is she still in Seattle? Does she has her pastry shop? / In Minnesota, I gather what is gone, capturing a spirit.
Instinctively, one / wants to be the native plant in its ancestral loam, / one wants a resistance to the sun, to shun full rainfall / for a flash of morning dew, or at very least, grow / some throwaway limbs.
Immigrant courtroom dramas, Chinese dystopic climate fiction, the indigenous literature of Micronesia, and Asian American cyborg poetics.
I practiced my Urdu in the bathroom with you / as I sat in the tub; only so long before an American / mermaid can stand without floating on into sea foam.
I could become / a better citizen, but then who would be left to / speak for me?
I reside in purgatory awaiting judgment. A seven-level structure, seven stories of nothing.
Dao Xiong writes to Axxel Xiong from inside a Minnesota prison.
South Korean female divers, Malay sorceresses, three generations of Palestinian women in Bay Ridge, and poetry on the multiplicities of the self through queer and trans perspectives.
The shaman wore long white sleeves rippling & / Minuscule in the bone-dry distance. / I jerked & righted the wheel / Plying invisible waves of hot sea
New Chinese science fiction, the poetry of Vietnamese displacement, Asian American mental health and racial melancholia, and a newly translated Korean fairytale classic.
Did you take my mother’s hand or ghost / the altar in her bedroom first?
but your leaves are changing in here / as all the fallen do
Always / propelling the thing forward, not leaving us to rest. / Below: the infinite world, // all its ligaments, all its creatures.
The AAWW staff, interns, and fellows select their favorite books, music, film, and art from 2018.
To launch our initiative A World Without Cages, we consider the literature of incarceration with writers like Brandon Shimoda, Nina Sharma, and Zaina Alsous.
The / day you died, the windows of our house were / open to let the breeze in. You said that it was / nothing.
The art of queer diaspora, surreal stories of contemporary China, journeys into the history of the Philippine-American War, and the story of the subcontinent through bodies of water.
Nine artists talk zine fests, artistic influences, and the growing world of queer Asian zine makers.
She kissed a fingertip and touched it to the frayed edge of a small sketch of her face. It was all she had left of him, a drawing that he had made of her.
She’s here to see us off. / Her voice is the softest ligature, unthreading. / Why are you saying goodbye to everyone except for me who raised you?
Jeff Yang’s poetry of placelessness, Perumal Murugan’s controversial fiction, Anita Felicelli’s timeless Tamil short stories, and Nasser Hussain’s experimental sky writings.
May our dead no longer speak to us / Our language now kneaded into other woes / with rancid stars a meager pittance / and false kingdoms rich in violent blows
I always thought I’d find you / throned in the moon-drenched water my wonder / woman your palms curled upward like lotus skins
Who’s keeping count of what’s given against what’s stolen? / There’s nothing I can’t trace back to my coarse immigrant blood.
Mama runs inside to bang on the bathroom door and yell Chinese vocabulary words at me—yellow light, borrowed light, get in the car, open. I dip my head underwater so every word sounds like a vowel, oceanic and slow.
Salman Rushdie’s newest, Marie Lu’s anticipated sequel, Khaled Hosseini’s illustrated short, and Emily Yoon’s sharp-edged poetry.
Fingers caked with wet / rice break backs and bellies, / pluck gills, / scrape eggs, tear limbs / Tita takes our legs– / cracks them / under a glass jar for us. / We suck shells ’til twilight.
From a crevice in a severed rock / birds with long beaks were tearing out earthworms. / My pain was without a wound / and in the bodies of the frayed, torn-out worms / there was no pain.
because I love you, I will gut this distance / with nostalgia, because grief can taste of sugar if you run / your tongue along the right edge
Tadao Tsuge’s visionary punk manga, Fatimah Asghar’s Partition poetry, Ling Ma’s anti-capitalist zombie satire, and Etel Adnan’s apocalyptic aphorisms.
Not all rainbow: here, tender orange, / there, rusted brown, the underside / gelatinous and white. Then the bones.
Moroccan surrealist poetry, Dickensian Korean American fiction, Chinese mythology made new, memoirs of a post-Marcos Philippines, and more.
Min Jin Lee talks with Lillian Li about researching and revising a novel, her relationship to her readership, and what’s next in line after Pachinko.
There is uncertainty in your future, a woman on the street told me. I can see it. You will be very unhappy, very soon.
The dysthemic artificial intelligence scientist took a book of poetry off the shelf and sat on her couch. What was she ushering in and what was a grand program for which she was simply helpless agent?
The stallion: one win short / of the triple crown. My intonation: / one stress too many for an apology— / all the times I got it wrong. Minoru, / Minoru—both are gone.
The overlooked poetry of the Tang era, Indian American exile fiction, a biography of the first Japanese American novelist, and new Asian American dystopias.
We are our skins; we are our hides. But my skin, and the skin of others like me, has been torn. It is at the site of this gash that our identity coheres, that our identity is espied.
Dickson Lam talks about cultural memory, cross-generational trauma, and familial separation in his new memoir Paper Sons.
Ask if he knows, what the first champagne mango of the summer / tastes like, its golden juices flowing over some farmer’s / cigar paper skin.
A policeman found the boy minutes later. A shaman, / a monk, a priest, and a poet are still pouring over / his soul.
Against the hills, a tall building with plank-walled rooms. / I, wishing for my wife and son like clouds far away, / My night is even longer under the bright moon.
The author of Carceral Capitalism talks predictive policing, the limits of appeals to innocence, and the price of prisons.
Religious supremacy, colonial erasure’s legacies, and seventy years of Palestinian resistance to occupation.
Black History Month, the value of remembering, and the often silent heroism of existence.
This was the first time he had seen so many exiled Tibetans of his own flesh and blood in a foreign land. Though they were only a few feet away, it was as if they were separated by ranges of mountains.
Janice Lee on becoming the badger, Navneet Alang on baby names, new hopes, and familial history, Maya Mackrandilal on culture shaping art.
Cixin Liu on first contact, Viet Thanh Nguyen on Thanksgiving, the future of Mission Chinese, and new fiction from Rachel Khong.
Kimiko Hahn speaks on Asian American Acitivism; Kazim Ali confronts political grabs in poetry.
‘A week before I graduate, I round up all my femme clothes / and stuff them in the Savers plastic bag / I’d gotten them in.’
Diversity in publishing, the lost history of comfort women, and Karen Tei Yamashita on her family history.
The literature of Arab dictators, Asian futurism, and America’s forgotten TV chef, Joyce Chen.
‘Which poem can defeat / the fear of dying / a meaningless death / and how to write that poem / staring into the barrel?’
Patty Yumi Cottrell on the abyss, Leland Cheuk on battling cancer, and former Margins fellow Wo Chan on fashion and the body.
The gentrification of punk, Anelise Chen on her grandmother’s ghost, Jonathan Saha on the dangers of excluding Rohingya Muslims from their own identity, and more.
This week’s articles are about the current U.S. political climate–but don’t worry, we have some new tunes for you to enjoy, too!
Anelise Chen’s latest mollusk column, the painful search for Asian American identity, “anti-blah” writing and more are featured in this week’s link roundup.
For eleven / years I lied about where I’m from, / ashamed by the music of endings, // that deep hollow bell. How much of my yearly / tax is spent to bomb the dirt / that birthed me?, is a question // I never wanted to consider.
Rahul Mehta and SJ Sindu read from their debut novels, Marriage of a Thousand Lies and No Other World
On data, food, and criticality under capitalism and the State.
Reads that encourage us to resist complacency and keep searching for new ways of thinking and being in the world–all in the name of self-determination.
Lisa Ko reads from her debut novel; Ed Lin and Jade Sharma read their stories of Asians who don’t fit the model minority stereotype.
On building bridges in liminal spaces, and carving new pathways through the unknown.
Jimin Han and Yoojin Grace Wuertz read and discuss their new novels, which interrogate Korean politics of the 1970s and 80s.
‘Children are playing soldier. / Fetuses ripped from wombs dangle / in nearby trees. Yet he opened his mouth / and a flood of love melodies poured out.’
On accountability – as readers, writers, and members of society.
Watch Thi Bui read an excerpt from her illustrated memoir The Best We Can Do with the help of some audience members.
St. Lenox performs a four-song set at the Workshop, including a track from his second album
pink spam injected into the bloodstream / won’t make one minnesotan, / the difference of an exporter and importer, / colonizer and the colonized with a nine digit ssn
Marwa Helal reads two poems at the Workshop, including her paen to the Palestinian American rapper DJ Khaled.
On mollusks, writing craft, and writing against whiteness.
Every spring, a deer must shed antlers used for fighting and each bone branch grows back with the thought of my partner’s return this season, and yet.
‘In my sleep, I dreamt of how terrible it would be to not find my way home.’
but this is boring. let’s talk / about something else. people are only lines / written with water it’s not that serious. i just want to drink / my coffee. i just want to think about roses i misheard / the words as a laugh, beautiful like a song of roses
‘I roam. Sometimes in solitude; sometimes in a crowd. But unlike a dog, I do not die a little each day, subdued to the loyalty of my master. I die all at once if it must be.’