by Naomi J. Williams
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015

By focusing on the penumbra of this legendary voyage, a disastrous, 18th-century quest for geographic knowledge, Naomi Williams brilliantly illuminates the enduring story of L’Expedition de Laperousé. The novel is a deft and stunning evocation of human aspiration at the dawn of the Industrial Age. (Barry Lopez via

Born in Japan, Naomi J. Williams holds an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including American Short Fiction, Colorado ReviewThe Gettysburg Review, Ninth Letter, One Story, A Public Space, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, and ZYZZYVA. In 2009, she received a Pushcart Prize and a Best American Honorable Mention. She lives in Northern California and is working on her second novel. (adapted from the author’s website)

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the Worldwww.randomhouse
by Jane Hirshfield
Knopf, 2015

Closely reading poems by Dickinson, Bashō, Szymborska, Cavafy, Heaney, Bishop, and Komunyakaa, among many others, Hirshfield reveals how poetry’s world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. Ten Windows restores us at every turn to a more precise, sensuous, and deepened experience of our shared humanity and of the seemingly limitless means by which that knowledge is both summoned and forged. (Publisher’s website)

Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Beauty; Come, Thief; After; and Given Sugar, Given Salt. She has edited and co-translated four books presenting the work of poets from the past and is the author of a previous collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of PoetryHer books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize; they have been named best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and Financial Times; and they have won the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall–Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Hirshfield has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, The New Republic, and seven editions of The Best American Poetry. A resident of Northern California since 1974, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. (adapted from

The Beauty

9k=The Beauty
by Jane Hirshfield
Knopf, 2015

Hirshfield opens her beautiful eighth book of poems describing the copper bowls of a scale in perfect balance: on one end of the scales a woman in a wheelchair sings a traditional Portuguese fado, on the other end everyone else present hangs in attention. This moment, one that expresses the internal vastness of the individual, bleeds into the rest of the collection as Hirshfield seeks the idea of balance. In a collection where “an hour can be dropped like a glass,” the pieces are seen by the reader as a new whole. “The ideas of poets turn into only themselves,” she notes, and those ideas are both the most important and the least. She uses the quotidian to peer into the life cycle. When she writes, “Now I too am sixty. / There was no other life,” it is as if the whole world had reached that milestone before her and she is somehow the last to see it through. The book pleads with itself to remember the past; the moments where days drifted by and doors could open or close. It pleads not to be forgotten. (Publishers Weekly)

Jane Hirshfield is the author of seven previous collections of poetry, two books of essays, and four books collecting and co-translating the work of poets from the past. A current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Hirshfield has received many prizes and awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and finalist selection for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T.S. Eliot Prize. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, The New Republic, Harper’s, Orion, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Slate, McSweeney’s, and seven editions of The Best American Poetry. She has been featured in two Bill Moyers PBS television specials and her work appears frequently on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and other public radio programs. (Publisher’s website)

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.