Birds of Paradise Lost

While reading Andrew Lam’s Birds of Paradise Lost, I kept thinking of novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED speech, back in 2009. It was titled “The Danger of the Single Story”; the subject echoed the project of challenging master narratives from the previous century. That challenge germinated revisions in university reading lists, back in the late seventies, as the war in Vietnam approached its final phase. Adichie underlines the role of power cultivated in a single story, and how it insinuates, then calcifies, subterranean borderlines through stereotypes. On a Virgin flight from Lagos before her talk, Adichie heard an announcement about charity work in “India, Africa, and other countries”; however unintentional this categorization of Africa as a country was, the remark was not isolated. Adichie was clear about that, that the comment signaled pernicious perceptions about Africa, the kind that framed the continent in a stereotype: that its economic situation is prime destination of numerous charities from the First World. On the other hand, Adichie’s problem with stereotypes “is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete[;] they make one story the only story.” [ Read Full Review at NewPages.]

The Night of the Rambler

The Night of the Rambler is true to its title. It tells a story of a revolution rambling with plans on how to execute a coup d’état on a young government, perhaps too young to transform and reconfigure policies inherited from previous colonial administrations. The transition is mired with problems, which is not unusual: young governments in newly decolonized territories are still learning the ropes of being free. Like youth itself, these fledgling states are high on new-found independence or semi-independence. In this novel, that mindset disables effective government. A territory that such a state governs feels neglected and excluded from basic benefits and services. Ironically, here, the lack of organized surveillance through bureaucratic standards—which gave colonial administrations immense control—becomes a form of oppression: political marginalization, a loss of sovereignty that opens channels for organized protests. However, there is a twist in the revolution Montague Kobbé has fictionalized, which is not necessarily in the protest itself, but what it wants in the end: it prefers direct administration from its original colonizer. [Read Full Review at NewPages.]

Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

A book can be judged by its cover, partially. This book is perfect example. The words Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story and the image of a typewriter below them compressed into a singular message for me: MFA in fiction. Even before opening the book, the cover tells me its target audience is creative writers, or more so, creative writers who are in a writing program, aspiring to be in one, used to be in one, are teaching in one, are about to teach in one, or believe you can’t teach creative writing, and thus look down on writing programs. But whether you stand by that idea or not, there’s a growing trend that these programs, academies, or institutes are sprouting around the globe. To name three, out of many: the City University of Hong Kong’s MFA in Creative Writing in English was launched in 2010, and considers itself “The only MFA with an Asian Focus.” In the UK, the Faber and Faber publishing house started Faber Academy in 2008, and promotes the idea that “publishers know what writers need.” And in City University of New York’s The Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center, its director—novelist André Aciman—has brought in editors from publications and publishers such as Granta; Harper’s; Knopf; The New Yorker; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and, yes, The Paris Review to facilitate its writing workshops, in fiction and nonfiction. [Read Full-text at NewPages.]

@ Munyori

My poem Consolations is published here, with a few others. Many thanks to Emmanuel, for including it.

Mornings give in to consolations.
The news anchor is part of the pattern that ensures
I will be home around six in the evening.
If I forget something on my way out,
it’s not the car keys, but the feel of your lips.
The bird blocking the green light
does not obliterate the other lights. The rearview mirror
swallows objects and takes them out of its face;
anything is game, big or small,
mountains and valleys, God, or how
the day might turn out to be.

Salton Sea

In this collection, interstate highways are stoned with sad songs, while accelerating on The Stones. They speed towards motel rooms and roadside bars, sweaty in premonitions of tomorrows through the Mojave Desert, or swanky Palm Springs hanging out on tan lines and glamour that might turn off George McCormick’s characters. His are not L.A. types, hoping for alternatives to traffic jams, smog, or specters of road rage. But they are not rural either; they are somewhere in between, suspended in that vast space girdled by truck stops, railroads, dry landscapes, and coffee refills on Sunset Boulevard, before accelerating the 101 or I-5 towards midnight and beyond. They take anything outside the nine-to-five hustle, anything stable, to support a family, a budding romance, or dreams that might wake, glimmering, in their baby daughter’s eyes. [Read Full-text at NewPages.]


"I let nights uncurl from the silence of leaves, where critters disperse sonic semaphores to perfect the dark. The slope of necks levitates expectations in the hollow of half-lit moons. I thirst for language that jet from punctured solitudes, their history, memory, fragilities. I breathe, sneak myself in their dreams, for the taste of rehashed melancholies. I search not victims, but to liberate those entombed in phantoms unable to simulate flight, escape, transcendence. As always, obstructed lineage purifies blood from the past."  Read more.


Thanks to Eileen Tabios for inviting me to be part of her  manuscript-in-progress that explores the expanse of the self. More on Eileen's project in her website The Blind Chatelaine's Keys. A portion of that manuscript appears in the 29th issue of Otoliths  edited by Mark Young, in a special feature called:

Eileen R. Tabios, Tom Beckett, j/j hastain, John Bloomberg-Rissman, 
Aileen Ibardaloza, Thomas Fink, Sheila E. Murphy, 
Michael Caylo-BaradiJean Vengua, William Allegrezza, 
Patrick James Dunagan & Ava Koohbor.


The issue features these writers and artists: Mark Cunningham, Susan Lewis, Aditya Bahl, Jal Nicholl, Andrew Topel, Pete Spence & Andrew Topel, Julian Jason Haladyn, Ed Baker, John Ryan, Francesco Aprile, Unconventional Press, Kyle Hemmings, Philip Byron Oakes, Marco Giovenale, Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett, Jim Leftwich & John M. Bennett, Thomas M. Cassidy & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, John W. Sexton, Louie Crew, Sy Roth, Jack Galmitz, Anthony J. Langford, Mark Melnicove, Yoko Danno, Pam Brown, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, A. J. Huffman, John Veira, Maria Zajkowski, Camille Martin, Wayne Mason, Bobbi Lurie, Darren C. Demaree, Michael Stutz, James Mc Laughlin, Howie Good, Reed Altemus, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Vernon Frazer, Jeremy Freedman, John Pursch, dan raphael, Sheila e. Black & Caleb Puckett, Ricky Garni, Jack Collum & Mark DuCharme, Kathryn Yuen, Tim Wright, Mark Reep, Gary Barwin, Taylor Reid, harry k stammer, Marcia Arrieta, Anna Ryan-Punch, Katrinka Moore, Neil Ellman, Sally Ann McIntyre, Jeff Harrison, Joe Balaz, Boyd Spahr, Tony Beyer, Jim Davis, Chris Brown, Sam Moginie, Lakey Comess, Alberto Vitacchio, Jorge Lucio de Campos translated by Diana Magallón & Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Rebecca Rom-Frank, Craig Cotter, Javant Biarujia, Carla Bertola, Iain Britton, Anne Elvey, Bob Heman, Donna Fleischer, J. D. Nelson, sean burn, Spencer Selby, Charles Freeland & Rosaire Appel, Paul Dickey, Michael D Goscinski, Kathup Tsering, Miro Bilbrough, Chris Holdaway, Samuel Carey, Paul Pfleuger, Jr., Michael Brandonisio, Willie Smith, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Bogdan Puslenghea, Andrew Pascoe, Scott Metz, Marty Hiatt, Eric Schmaltz, Sam Langer, & bruno neiva. 

bubble bath issues anyone?

The Bubble Bath Issue of MiPOesias (Feb 2013) 

Nin Andrews, Jennifer Koe, Joshua Gray, Ron Androla, Sam Gogolak, D.S. Martin, Pris Campbell, Rena Rossner, Meg Tuite, Linda Benninghoff, Laurie Kolp, Holly Simonsen, Erica Braverman, Gabrielle Freeman, Michael Caylo-Baradi & Yasbel Acuña-Borrero

I'm happy to be part of this issue. Thanks Didi for including my piece: 

Edited by Didi Menendez

Andre Aciman @ Granta

I like the idea that he can only write in the subjective I. The reading is energetic. I'm not lost. I love it. And I love his interviews. I get lost in the momentum.

Moments in the West

Add caption
Thanks to Mark Young for 
including my images: 

Moments in the West.


Otoliths 28

Alexander Jorgensen, Paul Dickey, Felino A. Soriano, Alexandra Yurkovsky, Jim Meirose, Simon Perchik, nick-e melville, Tim Suermondt, Mark Melnicove, Adam Aitken, bruno neiva, Philip Byron Oakes, Dane Karnick, Howie Good, Walter Ruhlmann, John Crouse, M. Pfaff, John M. Bennett, William Garvin, Michael Farrell, Willie Smith, Jack Galmitz, Craig Scott, Raymond Farr, Carlyle Baker, Patrick James Dunagan, Sheila E. Murphy, Reed Altemus, Micah Cavaleri, Tom Beckett, Tony Brinkley, Bobbi Lurie, Tom Pescatore, Cecelia Chapman, Tony Beyer, Lakey Comess, George McKim, Steven D. Stark, Orchid Tierney, David Dick, Colin Herd, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Lee Slonimsky, Chris D'Errico, Susan Gangel & Terry Turrentine, Catherine Vidler, John Pursch, Stephen Nelson, Leigh Herrick, Jeff Harrison, Volodymyr Bilyk, Charles Freeland & Rosaire Appel, Márton Koppány, Alyson Miller, sean burn, Donna Fleischer, Bogdan Puslenghea, Paul Pfleuger, Jr., Joel Chace, Bob Heman, Scott Metz, Ed Baker, J. D. Nelson, Nicolette Wong, Michael Brandonisio, Lance Newman, Sam Moginie, Kit Kennedy, Samit Roy, Sam Langer, Aditya Bahl, Cherie Hunter Day, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, & Michael Gottlieb.