Wednesday, February 14, 2007


a recent discussion at lee herrick's blog, scoots me to the surface from my busy teaching sched at new college. i'm really surprised at the raves for the guest issue of asian american poets i edited for the fabulous didi menendez at mipoesias. you can attest to didi's acute editorial instincts for seeing the potential in my ability to birth such an issue. she was also there when we came up with the idea for the first ever poetry cruise. wacky brilliant ideas take courage and didi has that and more! so she first asked me to guest edit one night in the late fall of 2005. it was a dark time for me. didi gave me my confidence back in my ability to gather talent together and present these gifts to the world. i have edited four different print anthologies with good literary presses. one co-edited with eileen tabios (Babaylan) and one co-edited with denise duhamel (Sweet Jesus). i quickly sent out emails looking for poems. i solicited all the asian american poets i personally knew and i asked them to pass on the call for work. i even sent an email to margaret cho but she did not respond. by the end of spring 2006, i had a nice selection of poems to choose from but i needed more. some poets needed to be coaxed or cajolled to send in poems. some, I met in person for the first time like jake rickafrente (who indroduced himself to me at the austin awp conference) and asked them to send me poems for the issue. others came through serendipity like meeting aaron at the virginia center for the creative arts colony. aaron turned out to be recently married to jennifer chang, a poet who says i published her first poem in the asian pacific american journal way back in the late 90's. hey, that was another guest edit issue (portfolio) when eileen tabios was the chief editor. i was particularly interested in including the voices of asian american poet bloggers like barbara jane reyes, shin yu pai, lee herrick, lee anne roripaugh, and roger pao. they have unique internet voices and i wanted to present their poems. i also asked four kickass poets to send me video poems. this is a new trend that we, asian american poets, are leading the movement. brian kim stefans sent in page poems but he also has many excellent flash electronic poems. if this mipo issue were made into a book, there would not be an adequate mechanism to include these important video poems. maybe we could slide in a dvd? the front page grafic was done by anida esguerra. that's her jumping at you! didi told me i could choose the cover image so i asked marlon to ask anida. ah, life goes on. why no marylin chin? why no li young lee? why no mei mei berssenbrugge? no dis meant but i really wanted to focus on the unknown or hardly known (luba halicki, jennifer kwon dobbs) who deserve more attention. there is also mike maniquiz who is publishing intense stunning poems in national journals whose first book is sure to follow.

so, please do take another look at the mipo asian american poetry issue, like a good poem, you will keep on discovering wonders upon wonders!