Now Reading: Second to Last Sunday of May 2021

Day 4: BRIGHT SQUARES

More about the theme for April: Bright Squares

Self will attempt to post squares every day through April.

This installment (#4) is all about BRIGHT BOOK COVERS.

  • Caroline Kim’s collection won the Drue Heinze Literature Prize.
  • Horacio de la Costa was a great historian. Self thinks his books are classics.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Micro: Hope You Enjoy!

SPINNING

by Marianne Villanueva

On a certain night, a good woman sat spinning by candlelight, her husband and her children having gone to bed long before. Suddenly, a great tiredness came upon her. She put a hand to her brow and exclaimed “Ah, me.” Just then, the cottage door burst open and a knight came in, bringing with him the dark.

(NOTE: Self used to think this story needed more. It doesn’t. Moral of the story: Anything can happen. Drumroll, Ta-ra! She’s self-publishing her micro. On Friday the 19th of March 2021. Also, it’s copyrighted. Do not re-publish without Acknowledgment)

Western Humanities Review, Spring 2020

Self has a story in the latest issue of Western Humanities Review. She based it on a true story about a ferry disaster in the Philippine Sea. And it all began with the first sentence:

I didn’t like the blind woman.

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)

Short Story of the Day: “Crocodile Teeth” by Donna Lee Miele

Nine more days till the Redwood City Library online reading for ms. aligned volume 3! (Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. PST) Much thanks to the library outreach staff, who gave us the slot and prepared beautiful flyers. And much thanks to series editor Pat Matsueda for coming up with the idea of a series focused on women writing about men.

Super-excited. Register here.

One of the readers on Feb. 25 is Donna Lee Miele. Self has just finished re-reading her fantastic story, “Crocodile Teeth.” From her Contributor Bio in ms. aligned 3:

  • Donna Lee Miele plays with characters, settings, and conflicts that evoke her mixed heritage and her parents’ experiences of war. While she also writes historical fiction, she finds greater freedom to explore (and greater fun) in stories with less concise settings, which was her intention with “Crocodile Teeth.”

An excerpt:

I was scared of Edward’s sister. After Edward’s parents got lost looking for work upriver, she took over their grandma’s house like she’d just been waiting for the chance. She bullied Edward, she bullied their grandma, and she even bullied the guys that started hanging around, who offered everything from repairs to the wornout old house to actual money for the chance to date her. They thought she’d be easy because she and Edward were orphans. She didn’t even pretend to be nice to them. She had a look so cold she could make the bag shrivel between your legs.

If you were one of those guys, and you tried to come up on her grandma’s veranda, she would stand on its edge, look down on you, and say something like, “Take yourself to the beach and remember me to your family,” meaning Last Beach, though even she wouldn’t say that right out. Last Beach is full of whores of every kind; and every one of them, of course, is someone’s family.

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

Poetry Friday: Kimiko Hahn

To Be a Daughter
And To Have a Daughter

(An Excerpt)

can forecast at-odds relationships
especially when the mother hazards to write
while keeping the baby safe
from herself as she and the baby wail,
one in the crib, the other on the floor, to wail
with the vacuum cleaner so the daughter
can’t hear mama-drowning, so the new relationship
isn’t all arithmetic and geometry, all right
angles barely connecting. What is left
at dusk, still tender and safe,

— from The New Yorker, 23 March 2020
  • Kimiko Hahn teaches at Queens College, City University of New York. Her latest poetry collection is Foreign Bodies.

Grace Loh Prasad’s “Teddy” in Ms Aligned 3

My whole life I’ve been a model of responsibility and good sense, and you know what? It’s not a recipe for joy. I follow the rules. I never eat more than half a bowl of rice because I’m diabetic, although lately I allow myself a small bowl of red bean soup, or a tiny piece of cheesecake, no bigger than two fingers. I deserve to live a little, don’t I?

— “Teddy” by Grace Loh Prasad, Ms Aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

Grace Loh Prasad was born in Taiwan and raised in New Jersey and Hong Kong before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and is an alumna of the VONA Workshop for writers of color along with residencies at Hedgebrook and the Ragdale Foundation. Her piece, “Unfinished Translation,” is in the new issue of Khora.

Grace will be reading with contributors to Ms Aligned in an on-line event hosted by the Redwood City Library on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Poetry Thursday: Luisa A. Igloria

from Luisa A. Igloria’s collection Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2020)

Mother: Three Pictures (An Excerpt)

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a
roomful of other couples. She has a beauty mole penciled on her
cheek, slightly to the right of her lip. Her eyebrows are two perfect
arches, her hair a dark beehive. I think there are dots on her dress.
Where is this photograph? I would very much like to have it.

The above, Dearest Mum, when she was a young Filipina pianist in New York City, 1950s.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a

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