a lovely surprise
"Confessional" is one of the poems that I wrote for The Adroit Journal's summer mentorship program (always good to see that that's still paying off). It represents one of my first efforts to grapple with my own identity as a second-generation immigrant, which has always been difficult for me to write about without feeling dishonest. I hope to make it available for you all to read someday soon so that more of my personal work is out there in the months to come.
a gift worthy of fairytales
The name may ring a bell, and if you've been reading this blog for a while now, that may be because I've mentioned Strange Horizons in past editions of my Fiction Friday feature (now called Weekend Wordfest), in which I recommend pieces of writing around the Internet that have caught my eye. For the fourth edition, I featured O.J. Cade's "Longfin's Daughters," and for round five, I featured Amanda Downum's "Snakebit." For a long time now, Strange Horizons has been my go-to for stunningly creative and well-crafted speculative work, and that makes placing a poem there that much more meaningful.
As I mentioned, "Little Red Cap" was written during my time being mentored by the wonderful Aline Dolinh in The Adroit Journal's summer program—that is, during a time of tremendous creative reflection and growth. It handles many of the topics that were beginning to surface in my work, including girlhood, links between humans and nature, and fairytale archetypes (guess which story this poem retells?). However, I tried to differentiate this particular poem from others I'd written by evoking almost gothic imagery and a distinctly autumnal color palette. (Everything I write has a color palette, whether I develop it that way or not.)
You can read "Little Red Cap" on Strange Horizons here or listen to me read it on the SH poetry podcast here, as well as peruse a wonderful review of the poem written by Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews.
a little rebirthAdditionally, yet another mentorship poem of mine has been picked up by The Rising Phoenix Review. Rising Phoenix focuses specifically on poetry about modern societal issues, an aim that I deeply respect, and they have excellent taste—my dear friend Topaz Winters was once featured there as well.
"Atlantis Revisited" was actually the very first poem that I wrote for the mentorship. The first line had refused to leave my head for what seemed like ages, so it was a relief to finally take it to its natural conclusion. I got some incredible critiques on that first draft and then let it sit for months.
So of course, the first thing I did when I opened up to revise? I drove the poem off a cliff, both in terms of form and tone.
I was rather happy with the result but wasn't sure where exactly it belonged, so it's wonderful to be able to say that it has a new home over at such a wonderful publication.
a distinctly adroit conclusionTo cap all of this off, here is what I feel is the most thrilling news of all: my poem "Misfire" was selected by judge Corey Van Landingham (her work is !!! I'll never be over it / the fact that she actually thought my poetry was good enough for this) as an Honorable Mention for the 2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry.
"Misfire" was a poem that grew mostly out of its title; the word had been rolling around in my head for months before I was finally able to begin unpacking it. I think much of the imagery consists of my own tightly coiled, emotionally charged associations with adolescence—there are a lot of things in it that had been building up over the confusing, quick, wonderful time that was this past summer and the months that followed. I don't think those feelings are anywhere near done with me just yet, but it felt good to sit down and try to write through it, or above it, or in a way that would finally get me to someplace new.
You can read my poem in the Adroit Prizes issue of The Adroit Journal here. Be sure to sit down for a good long while and enjoy the rest of the issue as well—the work of this year's recognized writers (including my dear brilliant friend Rona Wang and immensely talented peers such as Aidan Forster, Brynne Rebele-Henry, and Emily Zhang) is truly something to behold.