Poetry Sunday: Hilary Tham

At the last AWP Book Fair, self saw a familiar face at the Word Works table: Karen Alenier of Brooklyn. Self hung around and ended up buying a few books, one of which was Bad Names for Women, by Hilary Tham.

Tham is no longer with us, but her book is, and it is wonderful.

Mrs. Wei in Peking

All my life I’ve wanted to see
this Ten Thousand Li Great Wall,
Now I am sixty-five, too old for change

and Communism, the Malaysian Visa Office
permits I visit the land of my ancestors,
Oh, my arthritic knees! This wall was built

for mountain goats! The Emperor’s soldiers —
perched on the edge of the world, wanting
to sow rice and children, making do

with mulled wine against snow and ghost voices
wailing in the stones. Poor dead soldiers —
their breaths chill the stone, the summer wind,
I feel it. The Wall is haunted.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Busy/People Working

It’s been weeks since self has been able to participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

This week is: Show people BUSY or WORKING.

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The Octopus Literary Salon is held in — where else? — the Octopus, a coffee bar in downtown Oakland. This particular reading was in February 2018. The organizer of the series is the fabulous Raina Leon (standing at the mic).

And here’s a picture from the most recent AWP Bookfair, which was held early March in Tampa, FL. It is a huge event, probably one of the biggest Bookfairs in the country.  Self has to try so hard to rein in her bookbuying instincts. It’s easy to return from there with a whole suitcase of books!

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Annual AWP Bookfair, Tampa, FL: 9 March 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Poetry Saturday: Hilary Tham

One of self’s purchases from the most recent AWP Bookfair, in Tampa, Florida, was a poetry collection called Bad Names for Women, by Hilary Tham. The author’s bio says that she was born in Kenang, Malaysia, lived in Arlington, Virginia, and had three daughters.

An excerpt from Mrs. Wei Goes Home to Shensi, from the collection Bad Names for Women (Washington DC: The Word Works, 1989)

Aiiyah . . . they told me, they told me true,
See Shanghai, Peking, SiAn first, but I
would not listen, Ancestral Village, then

the tours, I never dreamt a family
so extended, so devoted.
They trudge for miles, hitch rides

on two horse-power tractors, pony carts,
arrive begrimed with coal-dust
just to see my face. My traveler’s checks

vanish like dew on late-morning grass,
exchanged for yuan, sacks of rice,
“You must stay to dinner

(and breakfast) before your trip home,”
My uncle’s wife’s brother-in-law
says he rises at five to work the commune farm,

at dark returns to hoe his ginger patch.
It brings in fen for bread and cloth

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HAPPY

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is HAPPY. Self started looking through her archives and decided on a set of pictures she took during the most recent AWP conference, a month ago, in Tampa.

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2018 AWP Bookfair, Tampa, FL

She mostly hung out at the Bookfair. One of the highlights of her trip was getting to meet the editors of the Bellingham Review! They published her (dystopian fantasy) story “Ice” in their annual on-line issue, up now. It stays up till November.

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SO HAPPY to meet the Editors of the Bellingham Review at the AWP 2018 Bookfair!

Thank you for making self so HAPPY, Bellingham Review!

Stay tuned.

 

 

AWP 2018 Tampa: Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker:

GEORGE SAUNDERS

Among the Featured Presenters are some very familiar names:

  • Rick Barot
  • Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee
  • Claire Messud
  • Aimee Nezhukumatahil
  • Sigrid Nuñez
  • Mary Ruefle
  • Karen Tei Yamashita

She has loved George Saunders ever since Civilwarland in Bad Decline. She remembers ugly crying after reading one story, the one about the wavemaker. She has not yet read Lincoln in the Bardo but it is definitely on her list. (Which, at the rate she’s been reading these days, means she probably won’t get to it until next year. At the soonest.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

AWP Bookfair, Tampa 2018: Game Plan

Self will be frank: the only reason she’s going to Tampa next year is the Bookfair.

Oh, wait! There’s another reason: George Saunders is the keynote speaker.

But okay, back to the Bookfair. It’s huge and exhausting. Here is the floor plan.

There have been past AWPs (notably, one in Chicago) where self was so buzzed she did not sleep for 48 hours.

Several years ago, she remembers walking down aisle after aisle of the Bookfair (2015? 2014?) and she had new stories in a number of journals and it felt GLORIOUS. Empowering. And, she should have known: it was an experience never to be repeated. (Aw, shucks!)

She didn’t even go to the AWP last year, even though she had many, many good friends who were booksigning. Even though she was in DC! And participated in an off-site reading (for Quarterly West).

Here’s a selective list of 2018 AWP Bookfair exhibitors:

Akashic * American Short Fiction * Bellingham Review * Blue Mesa Review * Bread Loaf Writers Conferences * Electric Literature * The Florida Review * Fourteen Hills * Grove/Atlantic * Indiana Review * The Journal * Juked * Miami University Press * Mid-American Review * Mississippi Review * New Letters * New Ohio Review * Nimrod * Old Dominion University * The Paris Review * Poets & Writers * Potomac Review * Prairie Schooner * Puerto del Sol * RHINO * Santa Fe Writers Project * Sarabande Books * Small Press Distribution * Submittable * The New York Review of Books * Tin House * University of Arizona Creative Writing * University of Missouri Creative Writing Program * Veterans Writing Project * War, Literature & the Arts * Wings Press * Witness/UNLV English Dept * Women’s Review of Books

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Friends: An Ever-Shifting Panoply

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FRIENDS.

Which is a very fun theme!

  • Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator, UCLA Extension Writers Program (She writes, too!)
  • Keith Tuma, Director of Miami University Press, which published self’s Mayor of the Roses, the first in their fiction series
  • Amy Toland at last year’s AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles
  • Irene Lacson, niece and travel buddy

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Aimee Nezhukumatathil (The Writer’s Chronicle, Sept 2016)

“I do think persona is helpful in however heavy or light the disguise, if only to announce to the reader that if my persona says or does something they don’t find agreeable, it’s just a character, not the person.”

— Aimee Nezhukumatathil, in her interview with Eric Farwell, The Writer’s Chronicle, September 2016

Reading at AWP (Off-Site) for QUARTERLY WEST, 8 February 2017

Participating in a group reading for Quarterly West at Sixth Engine, a converted firehouse in Washington, DC. during the AWP Conference.

Date: 8 February 2017 (Details to follow), downtown Washington DC

Quarterly West Issue # 89 has self’s newest Dragon/Fire Lizard story, “First Causes.”

It’s a sequel to her “First Life,” published July 2015 in Juked.com

Stay tuned.

 

Chaos 2: Victoria & Albert; AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles; Manhattan, Night

Embrace the creative potential of disorderly randomness.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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A Chihuly: Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Below: the controlled chaos of the Annual AWP Book Fair. This year’s was in Los Angeles. Seated: Keith Tuma of Miami University Press.

There have been AWP conferences where self is so buzzed by being surrounded by so many authors and literary panels that she has gone as long as 48 hours with absolutely no sleep.

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AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles, April 2016

Finally: self did a lot of lonely walking in Manhattan last December. The city never ceases to amaze. New York is a grrrreat city for insomniacs!

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New York City: Night, Midtown, December 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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