Re-Reading, Re-Discovering Angela Narciso Torres

Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books); and winner of the 2019 Yeats Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears in Poetry, Missouri Review, and PANK.

Angela and two other Four Way Books poets, Andrea Cohen and Rodney Terich, are reading tonight online at an event hosted by Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Reading starts at 7 p.m. EST (that’s 4 p.m. PST) You can find out more from the Canio’s Books Calendar of Events.

SUNDOWNING (An excerpt)

for my mother, Carmen

The sweetest meat clings to the bone,
my mother says, knifing her steak.
Carmen. Silver spade on my tongue.

Mahjong nights, her father and mother gone,
she cried herself to sleep. Blamed in the morning
for her mother’s losing hand. Unlucky tears!

The sweetest meat — she begins
at dinner, tearing off a chicken leg.
What will she recall by morning?

Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
she pinned brown scapulars under our shirts,
wet stamps that cleaved to our skin.

— from To The Bone, by Angela Narciso Torres (Sundress Publications, 2019)

Editor’s Note, ms. aligned 3

There’s still almost an hour before the game begins, so self can squeeze in a few more things. Self’s quote of the day is from Rebecca Thomas, Editor of ms. aligned 3: women writing about men. (Published by El Leon Literary Arts of Berkeley and Manoa Books)

For the past nine years, I have been teaching composition at West Virginia University. I primarily teach freshmen, and one of their first papers is a narrative. In so many of the narratives, students — of all genders — explore issues connected to masculinity, in particular the effects of toxic masculinity. I receive papers about abusive relationships in high school, peer pressure to act a certain way, loneliness in emotionally connecting with peers, and the very real risk and fallout from coming out. My students are young, so it’s natural that they write about their childhood, the childhood moments where they begin to construct their identity. In our class discussions and in their reflections, I see so many grappling with the concept of masculinity. How did it shape their life? How will it shape their life as they journey into adulthood?

In this Me Too era, it’s hard not to think about masculinity and how it can be toxic. Working on a college campus, I know that many of my students have been assaulted. I know that many of them are trying to find the space to talk about it, and I know that many of them are starting to test the waters of self-acceptance, to see if it’s safe to be who they are. Since I am the mother of two young boys, toxic masculinity is something that I have to consider constantly: how do we raise our children in this environment? What conversations do I need to have with my kids?

Contributors to ms. aligned 3, and series editor Pat Matsueda, will be on-hand at an online event hosted by Redwood City Library. Register here.

Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

ms aligned 3 is a collaboration between El Léon Literary Arts (Berkeley, CA) and Manoa Books, Hawai’i. More information can be found here.

Upcoming Online Event: Redwood City Library Reading, Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Register here.

“Daniel attempted to lead me; I tried to lead him. We struggled. I pushed him on the shoulder; he pushed me back. I kicked him in the shin. Hunching, he grabbed my right hand in both of his and bit me hard.”

— Excerpt from Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3

Online Reading for MsAligned 3, Hosted by Redwood City Library: Thursday, 25 February, 5:30 pm

Dear blog readers:

Here’s your chance to listen to some of the contributors to Ms Aligned 3: Women Writing About Men!

Online reading February 25 for the Redwood City Library, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45.

Here are just a few of the lovely authors who will be reading:

Pat Matsueda (Series Editor) * Lillian Howan * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Cassandra Lane * Jill McCabe Johnson * Rachel King * Ryan Nicole Granados * Grace Loh Prasad

The 2021 PEN America Literary Awards/ Longlisted Books

The following do not contain all the long-listed books, only the ones that self thinks she will actually get around to reading in 2021 (and one she has already read, which she highly recommends: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories, by Caroline Kim). They’re a mix of memoirs, novels, and short story collections.

  • Borderland Apocrypha, by Anthony Cody (Omnidawn)
  • Crooked Hallelujah, by Jo Ford (Grove Press)
  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel, by C. Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books)
  • Imaginary Museums, by Nicolette Polek (Soft Skull Press)
  • Inheritors, by Asako Serizawa (Doubleday)
  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel, by Kawai Strong Washburn (MCD)
  • The Butterfly Lampshade, by Aimee Bender (Doubleday)
  • The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir, by E. J. Koh (Tin House)
  • The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories, by Caroline Kim (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • This Is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home, by Lauren Sandler (Random House)
  • You Will Never Be Forgotten: Stories, by Mary South (FSG Originals)

Just Published: The Wolf Wife (Story)

One cold February night, his wife began to howl.

The becoming was a long process. His wife had been a small woman, barely a hundred pounds. The wolf she became was massive, almost double her human weight. She had thickly furred ears and a long, dense, whitish coat

Read the rest of the story in Spacecraft 13, a literary magazine edited by Gillian Parish

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

RIP for the Lost

Just recently, self heard The Octopus Literary Salon, in Oakland, where she and friends had all variously read, had closed. SAD! It was a mainstay of the local literary community.

Self was just looking through her pile of contributor copies (for stories she’s published in literary magazines) and realized that there are quite a goodly number that do not exist anymore. Like, The Rambler? This magazine of nonfiction appeared in North Carolina, survived a number of years, and took two of self’s flash.

How about Isotope? A place for creative and science writing. Edited by poet Chris Cokinos. In the same issue as poetry and plays, an essay on math (with numbers!) or biology. This one published out of Utah.

Here are self’s list of The Departed (the ones she knows about):

  • 5_Trope
  • Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Self loved this magazine. It moved to on-line only, and self still loved it. Then, ALAS!)
  • decomP
  • Elsewhere Lit
  • Isotope
  • LITnIMAGE
  • Our Own Voice  (featuring writing of the Philippine diaspora)
  • The Cricket Online Review
  • The Rambler
  • Used Furniture Review
  • White Whale Review (The editor solicited her after reading her blog)
  • Word Riot

Most of these magazines fell into the experimental and/or social justice arena. They were trying to do something different, and their presence in the literary world was exciting (Face it, if self had to rely solely on the big literary magazines, her career would have been over years ago). They were labors of love (as every literary magazine, big or small, is) and their vision was unique.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#backreading The New Yorker, 14 October 2019

Found, in a pile of unread New Yorkers, the issue that lauds Jenny Lewis’s Gilgamesh Retold (available now as an audiobook featuring Jenny reading her own work, on the Carcanet website)

 

It’s partly about George Smith, “an engraver of banknotes,” who “spent his lunch hours at the British Museum, studying its holdings.” Eventually, Smith was hired to “help analyze the thousands of clay shards that had been shipped … ” from “Nineveh, an important city in ancient Mesopotamia … the reason so many tablets had been found in one place was that they were the remains of a renowned library, that of Ashurbanipal, a king of the neo-Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C.” The script was written in cuneiform, a script “no one could read.”

The article, by Joan Acocella, is very long. But worth noting is that it reviews Jenny Lewis’s new collection, Gilgamesh Retold. Self has heard Jenny read, and her voice — Shohreh Aghdashloo level.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Book Launched: MsAligned 3

MsAligned Vol. 3: Women Writing About Men launched in the spring. This spring. Which means, during the corona virus epidemic. But it’s out there now, out in the world.

Thank you, Editor Rebecca Thomas. Thank you, Pat Matsueda, Founder of MsAligned. Thank you, El Leon Literary Arts and Manoa Books, for co-publishing. Thank you, Shawna Yang Ryan, for the lovely Introduction. Thank you, Lillian Howan, for soliciting self’s story. Thank you, Melissa Chimera, for the beautiful front-cover art. Thank you, Carly Elizabeth Huggins, for the beautiful back-cover art.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

Mary Archer * Mary Carozza * Ryan Nicole Granados * Lillian Howan * Gerda Govine Ituarte * Caroline Kim * Rachel King * Pat Matsueda * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Jeannine Ouellette * Connie Pan * Ann Pancake * Grace Loh Prasad * Marilyn Stablein * Rebecca Thomas * Marianne Villanueva

DSCN0053

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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