Monday, July 24, 2017

Terror of the Batsquatch

In my line of work, you run into many odd and unusual things, and that often comes to a head at science fiction conventions. Among the places where I've consistently encountered this is Diversicon which just recently marked its 25th convening in Saint Paul.

The poet Barbara Jane Reyes has been asking at various points throughout the recent months why do we keep blogs in this day and age. In this instance, I admit it's because I have a feeling I will want to return to the story of the Batsquatch, which is not to be confused with Batman, thanks to a random conversation with Steve Fox and the writer SN Arly as we tried to identify possible SFF mascots for the various states who might be good candidates for the various SFPA chapters. Because that's the sort of conversation that comes up.

I'll add a picture to this post later, but for now some of the salient details to know about the Batsquatch are claims reportedly made in 1994, 2009, 2011, and 2014 in the Pacific Northwest of a large, flying hominid that resembles both a bat and presumably a sasquatch. Comparisons have been made to the Orang Bati and the Ahool of the Southeast Asian regions.

Having just passed through the region, I do feel like I missed out. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get a second chance...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Laodyssey Playlist

So, recently it became necessary to make the transition from California back to the Midwest following a 6-year venture in community building and the arts, among other things. Because it's a bit of a pain searching around for radio stations that play my favorite music, and finding ones who don't repeat the same songs every other hour in horrible rotation, I wound up loading a Samsung tablet with a few to hold me over during the journey, because Manikab's DVD player is currently not working. 

So I have a record, the ones that wound up in the heaviest rotation were the following. Postmodern Jukebox and Puddles Pity Party occupied most of the list during this journey, as did Edith Piaf's "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien," and Tom Waits "I'll Be Gone" and "Hang On St. Cristopher." Jennifer Lawrence singing "The Hanging Tree," and Lana Del Rey's "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" also saw extensive play, along with War's "Gypsy Man," ZZ Top's "La Grange," and the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. I should have brought along some more Sade.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Asian American issue of Poetry available now

The new issue of Poetry is out, featuring my work as well as the work of many amazing Asian American poets and I'm honored to be among such fine company. Be sure to check it out and get a copy if you spot it out there.

The magazine has since been in continuous publication for more than 100 years, making it the oldest monthly magazine devoted to verse in the English language. Perhaps most famous for having been the first to publish T.S. Eliot’s "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (and, later, John Ashbery's "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"), Poetry also championed the early works of H.D., Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Marianne Moore.

It was first to recognize many poems that are now widely anthologized: "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks, Briggflatts by Basil Bunting, "anyone lived in a pretty how town" by E.E. Cummings, "Chez Jane" by Frank O'Hara, "Fever 103°" by Sylvia Plath, "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg, "Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens, and many others. Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Tennessee Williams, to name just a few, have also appeared in Poetry’s pages.

This is my first poem to appear in Poetry over the course of 26 years of writing, and that it coincides with the 10th anniversary of my first collection of Lao American poetry, On The Other Side Of The Eye, I'm left with a particular feeling of happiness over the matter.

Friday, July 07, 2017

2017 Southeast Asian American Studies conference approaching July 27-29, 2017, Lowell, MA

A quick shoutout to Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy and Sue J. Kim and their team for doing so much work to get the 2017 Southeast Asian American Studies Conference pulled together with so many fine talents from academia, the arts, and the community. Be sure to register soon and remember the housing deadline is this Friday, 7/7/17. Don't get stuck camping on someone's lawn.

The Southeast Asian American Studies conference is a national summit of researchers, community organizers, artists, students, service providers, policymakers, community members, and others. The purpose is to reflect on the histories and current states of Southeast Asian American communities and to discuss solutions to the most pressing issues facing Southeast Asians in the U.S. The 2017 conference seeks to highlight Southeast Asian American communities in New England and seek to strengthen bridges between researchers, practitioners/service providers, policymakers, and community members.

 Lowell, Massachusetts, is home to the second largest Cambodian American population in the United States, as well as Vietnamese, Lao, Burmese, and Bhutanese Americans. Nearby Dorchester, MA, and Providence, RI, are home to significant Vietnamese and Lao American populations, respectively. How are the histories and experiences of Southeast Asian Americans in New England and the East Coast similar to and different from other diasporic SEAAs? What new intellectual, political, and cultural formations emerge from considering this region?