Here a few snapshots from my visit to Pellissippi State Community College, where I delivered a Convocation address on their Common Academic Experience theme for the year, Inner Space | Outer Space. I was fortunate enough to share this day--the very day the current administration announced the repeal of DACA--with the most brilliant and kind Carlos G., who introduced me and shared his own similar experiences. While there, I got to meet with students, faculty, and staff to talk in depth about poetry and immigration. When I left, my suitcase was full of the various snacks they bought to sweeten my welcome. (Everyone in the Clayton Performing Arts Center got to hear me exclaim, loudly, "Otap!" 😁) Thank you, PSCC, and everyone who worked to bring us all together. (center photo of me by Pellissippi State Community College)
At the 2017 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in DC, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Javier Zamora, and I chatted with Rachel Zucker about literary activism and our work with Undocupoets for the newest episode of Commonplace: Conversations with Poets.
Be sure to also check out Episode 21: Undocupoets Part 1 with Christopher Soto aka Loma, one of the original members of Undocupoets, .
I'm happy to share that Driving without a License is on the longlist for the 2016 Julie Suk Award for the best book of poetry published by an independent or university press. Congratulations to the other finalists!
After months of collaboration and planning, on May 25th, Emotive Fruition and Kundiman brought to the stage “a night of live poetry that explores (un)documented immigration, migration, home, exile, and what it means to be(come) American.” Komal Kapoor Fox, Pearl Sun, and Tiffany Villarin performed excerpts from Driving without a License alongside work by Rachel Ansong, Marina Blitshteyn, Chialun Chang, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Hieu Huynh, Vikas Menon, Ansley Moon, Julia Munslow, Sahar Muradi, and Sokunthary Svay. I heard we filled the space beyond max capacity!
A very special thanks to Thomas Dooley and Cathy Linh Che for directing and organizing the event, as well as to the Botanic Lab for providing us with a venue! Thank you, too, to those in NYC who attended the event and shared your stories. Below are just a few snapshots from the evening.
In February, I had the opportunity to read excerpts from Driving without a License at the Poesía Peligrosa series at UC Riverside. This special reading and homecoming would not have been possible without the collaboration between and financial support from Poets & Writers, the Paul & Daisy Soros Foundation, and UC Riverside's PODER (Providing Opportunities, Dreams, and Education in Riverside) and Chicano Students Programs--THANK YOU!
On Wednesday, 5/25, New York City actors will be performing excerpts from Driving without a License along with other poems that explore (un)documented immigration, migration, home, exile, and what it means to be(come) American. Reserve your tickets now.
From the airport, after flying to Ogden to attend my Book Release Party, my dad texted me this photo:
I'm in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times!!! (See the digital version of the article here.)
I am so thrilled to share that Driving without a License--alongside books by Mai Der Vang, Rajiv Mohabir, Jenny Yang Cropp, Ocean Vuong, Kenji Liu, Hannah Sanghee Park, Khaty Xiong, and Timothy Yu--is featured on NBC News' list of emerging Asian American writers to read! Thank you to Frances Kai-Hwa Wang for including DWAL on this list!
My family subscribed to the Los Angeles Times--it was the newspaper that I often combed through in search of articles to educate myself about the climate surrounding undocumented immigration debates, particularly in Southern California. That said, it is surreal to share that my debut collection, Driving without a License, was reviewed by Stephen Burt in the Los Angeles Times!
Burt writes, "It stands far apart from most first books, and from most books of autobiographical or narrative poetry, for the unpredictable vigor in its rhythmically irregular lines, especially in its depictions of youthful adventures."
Join me on Friday, May 6th, for the release of Driving without a License! The evening will feature readings by Weber State University creative writing students, Shawn Atkinson, Marette McDermott, Megan Olsen, and John Ropp.
Driving without a License is currently available for pre-order, and books will be available for purchase at the event.
Thank you to Barbara Hoffert and Library Journal for reviewing and naming Driving without a License a "Top Spring Poetry: Seventeen Don’t-Miss Titles from Veteran and Upcoming Authors." Hoffert writes:
Thank you to Library Journal for listing Driving without a License--alongside collections by Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Adrienne Rich, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lyn Hejinian, francine j. harris, Kim Addonizio, Campbell McGrath, Pablo Neruda, Aracelis Girmay, Bernadette Mayer, Jamaal May, Phillis Levin, Tyehimba Jess, and more--as a top poetry pick for spring 2016! See the article here.
I'm happy to share that my poem, "Landscape with American Dream," which first appeared in The California Journal of Poetics, appears on pg. 34 of the 2015-2016 edition of The New American, the annual newsletter of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.
This National Poetry Month, the wonderful Jennifer Tamayo has been blogging for the Poetry Foundation. If you haven't checked out her two-part feature, "On My Love for Those Who Refuse Silence," on the work of the #Undocupoets, click on through to Part I and Part II. The second installment features the work of Wo Chan, Sonia Guiñansaca, Javier Zamora, and myself.