Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

2Q==Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora
Edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam, and Kathy L. Nguyen
University of Washington Press, 2014

Pairing image and text, Troubling Borders showcases creative writing and visual artworks by sixty-one women of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Filipino ancestry. The collection features compelling storytelling that troubles the borders of categorization and reflects the multilayered experience of Southeast Asian women. (

Featured Contributors: Melba L. Abela, Azizah Ahmad, Anida Yoeu Ali, Eliza O. Barrios, Christilily Chiv, Tiffany Chung, Rachel Quy Collier, Anh Thang Dao, Phuong M. Do, Reanne Estrada, Marsha C. Galicia-Monroe, Lian Guow, Grace Kong (or Kanhcharavatey), Marine Ky, Emily P. Lawsin, Anne Le, May Lee-Yang, Leakhena Leng, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Lin + Lam (Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam), Karen Llagas, Phayvanh Luekhamhan, Nalyne Lunati, Heang Ly, Vi Ly, Phet Mahathongdy, Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. (Reanne “Immaculata” Estrada, Eliza “Neneng” Barrios, and Jenifer “Baby” Wofford), Mong-Lan, Pang Houa Moua Toy, Anh-Thu Ngo, Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen, Chau Nguyen, Debbie Nguyen, Kathy L. Nguyen, Gina Osterloh, Connie Pham, Aimee Phan, Ann Phong, Jai Arun Ravine, Barbara Jane Reyes, Gayle Romasanta, Amy Lee Sanford, Linda Saphan, Davorn Sisavath, Grace Talusan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Kao Lee Thao, Angela Narciso Torres, Diep Tran, Linda Tran, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Tran Mong Tu, Tran Tue Quan/Quan Tue Tran, Pimone Triplett, Hong-An Truong, Julie Thi Underhill, Kou Vang, Mai Der Vang, Vo Hong Chuong-Dai, Chi Vu, Jenifer K. Wofford, Kao-Ly Yang, Yer Yang

Editors: Isabelle Thuy Pelaud is associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University; Lan Duong is associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside; Mariam B. Lam is associate professor of comparative literature, media and cultural studies, and director of Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Riverside; and Kathy L. Nguyen is a writer and editor in San Francisco. (Publisher’s website)

The Descartes Highlands

9k=The Descartes Highlands
by Eric Gamalinda
Akashic Books, 2014

With a keen eye for splendor amid the grotesque, Gamalinda writes with a poet’s heart and a philosopher’s mind, while enthralling readers with emotional, gritty storytelling. (Booklist)

Eric Gamalinda is the author of two story collections, three books of poetry, and five novels. His novel My Sad Republic won the Philippines’s Centennial Literary Prize. Gamalinda was born and raised in Manila, where he worked as a journalist. He currently lives in New York City and teaches at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

Sacrament: Homage to a River

SACRcover_web800px_revised-200x200Sacrament: Homage to a River
by Rebecca Lawton
photography by Geoff Fricker
Heyday, 2013

In Sacrament: Homage to a River, Geoff Fricker’s atmospheric photographs reveal the geology, salmon runs, fluvial morphology, and human impact of the Sacramento River. In dreamlike black and white, the river takes on mythic proportions, in both its wild eco-systems and its human-made influences. Interwoven with Fricker’s images are Rebecca Lawton’s eloquent descriptions of the beauty of the river and the issues that currently surround it. (

Rebecca Lawton was one of the first woman river guides on the Colorado in Grand Canyon as well as other rivers in the West. Since 1974 she has teamed with geomorphologists, paleontologists, and geographers to study the movement of silt, clay, sand, fossils, and other sedimentary particles in streams. Rebecca’s essay collection Reading Water: Lessons from the River was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Bestseller. She currently serves on the board of directors for Friends of the River and lives on Pequeño Creek in Sonoma Valley. (Publisher’s website)

Geoff Fricker’s photographs are housed in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Crocker Art Museum, the Library of Congress, and other cultural institutions in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. He has received numerous awards and grants to document watersheds. He holds an M.F.A. in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. Geoff lives with his wife, Sandee, on the banks of Butte Creek, a major salmon tributary of the Sacramento River. (adapted from

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry


edited by Ming Di
Tupelo Press, 2013

This collection of poems focuses on poets from mainland China, highlighting Duo Duo (laureate of the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature) and Liao Yiwu (recipient of 2012 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade organization) along with up-and-coming poets such as Zang Di,  Xiao Kaiyu, Jiang Tao, and Lü Yue. The anthology includes interviews with the poets and a survey of their opinions on “Ten Favorite Chinese poets” and “Ten Best-Known Western poets in China.” (Publisher’s description)

Featured poets: Duo Duo, Wang Xiaoni, Bai Hua, Zhang Shuguang, Sun Wenbo, Wang Jiaxin, Liao Yiwu, Song Lin, Xiao Kaiyu, Lü De’an, Feng Yan, Yang Xiaobin, Zang Di, Ya Shi, Mai Mang, Lan Lan, Jiang Tao, Jiang Hao, Lü Yue, Hu Xudong, Yi Lai, Jiang Li, Zheng Xiaoqiong, Qiu Qixuan, and Li Shumin.

Translations by: Neil Aitken, Katie Farris, Ming Di, Christopher Lupke, Tony Barnstone, Afaa Weaver, Jonathan Stalling, Nick Admussen, Eleanor Goodman, Ao Wang, Dian Li, Kerry Shawn Keys, Jennifer Kronovet, Elizabeth Reitzell, and Cody Reese.

Ming Di (penname of Mindy Zhang) was born and grew up in China. She is the author of six collections of original poetry in Chinese and one in English translation, River Merchant’s Wife (Marick Press, 2012), and translator of poetry and literary essays from English into Chinese. She lives in Los Angeles, California.


Rhapsody in Black

by Jidi Majia
translated by Denis Mair
University of Oklahoma Press, 2014

The poetry of Jidi Majia is grounded in the myths and oral traditions of the Nuosu minority. It evokes times past but also articulates our global moment. Replete with cultural textures and local idiom, the poems provide an opening into the Nuosu world.  They also resonate with the voices of the indigenous and the dispossessed, from Native American and South American Indian poets to the African American and aboriginal Australian writers preserving and reshaping cultural identity. (Publisher’s description)

Jidi Majia was born in in Daliangshan, Sichuan, in 1961. He is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His work has been published in more than ten poetry anthologies, and has been translated into several languages. In 2006, he became the vice president of the China Poetry Association.

Denis Mair has translated the work of numerous Chinese poets into English, including the volumes Reading the Times: Poems of Yan Zhi and Selected Poems by Mai Chen.

Seven Studies for a Self Portrait

41Keu8+dPiLby Jee Leong Koh
Bench Press, 2011

Jee Leong Koh’s third book of poems subjects the self to an increasingly complex series of personal investments and investigations. Ever-evolving, ever-improvisatory, the self appears first as a suite of seven ekphrastic poems, then as free verse profiles, riddles, sonnet sequences, and finally a divan of forty-nine ghazals. (

Jee Leong Koh is the author of four books of poems, including Seven Studies for a Self Portrait. His poetry has appeared in such journals as PN ReviewDrunken BoatAxon, andQuarterly Literary Review Singapore, and has been anthologized in New Poetries V andVillanelles. Born in Singapore, he lives in New York City, where he writes a blog and curates the website Singapore Poetry.

River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir


by John Morgan
artwork by Kesler Woodward
University of Alaska Press

River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir is a book-length poem that takes readers on a weeklong raft trip down a river in southcentral Alaska. Bears, eagles, moose, seals, otters, and salmon inhabit the poem’s world, and the landscapes shift between glaciers, mountains, rapids, and waterfalls. The trip becomes a spiritual journey journey as well, as the poem includes commentary by fifteenth-century Indian mystic poet Kabir (pronounced kuh-BEER), who serves as a mentor to the narrator. The raft trip described in the poem took place in 2003, the year in which the second Iraq War began, so the war is on the narrator’s mind and becomes a metaphor for his inner struggles. However, the main story of the poem is the trip itself, which is influenced and shaped by the river’s waves and currents, and the wildlife and scenery that provide frequent surprises for the travelers.

This volume includes artwork by Alaska artist Kesler Woodward. Woodward participated in the original raft trip and makes an appearance in the poem as well.

John Morgan was born in New York. He studies with Robert Lowell at Harvard, where he won the Hatch Prize for Lyric Poetry. He earned his MFA degree at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets’ Prize. Morgan has also won the Discovery Award from the New York Poetry Center, and was runner-up for the Poetry Society of America’s Celia B. Wagner Prize. He has perviously published four books of poetry, four chapbooks, and a collection of essays. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, PoetryAmerican Poetry Review, Paris Review, New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Yale Review, and other magazines and anthologies.