Karissa Chen is the Senior Literature Editor. She is the author of the fiction chapbook, Of Birds and Lovers (Corgi Snorkel Press 2013). Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Guernica, PEN America, Gulf Coast, and The Toast. She is a Fulbright scholar, a Kundiman fellow, and a VONA/Voices fellow. She is also the co-founding editor at Some Call It Ballin', a sports literary journal. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently working on a novel.
We have a confession: we hate "best of" lists. Thousands of books are published every year and to try to whittle those books down to a few "best" seems near impossible. Whether a book is good/important/groundbreaking/heartbreaking or not is subjective, and we recognize that. We recognize it's ridiculous to claim to create a definitive list.
It's that time of year again! As has been the tradition for the last couple of years, we asked the writers we've featured over the past year to tell us their favorite poems, essays, fiction, books, and other literary endeavors by APIA artists. We believe that the APIA literary world is a community — and the best way to support each other is to read each other. So take a look and see who some our favorite writers recommend!
By Justin Chin
In the harsh glare of an easily
reprehensible life. The channel changer is lost
in the crack of an infinite sofa.
Everything falls apart, everything breaks
down, torn into a million
fragments, Jericho everyday.
I want to be the blameless
victim in this canceled puppet show,
the marionette every mother loves, the one
souvenirs are modeled from.
Every month, through our lit section and through The Hyphen Reader, we offer you new writing by Asian American poets and prose writers that we think you should be reading. Now, as the year draws to a close, we gave our writers a chance to recommend some of their favorite pieces and books by Asian American writers!
Read below to see what your new favorite writers are reading and loving!
It's our second birthday! Yes, the Hyphen Reader was started in October two years ago! Crazy how time flies... but I hope you've been enjoying our curation!
October brings us an excerpt from Alexandra Kleeman's acclaimed debut novel, a haunting poem from Monica Sok, and a review of Hyphen's former music editor's debut novel (which we excerpted a few months back!).
Margaret Rhee's robot poems are quirky, lovely, and full of humanity. They're just strange enough to make the reader consider our connections from a new angle, but suffused with enough longing and emotion to resonate. The two poems featured in Issue 28 are only several of a series of robot poems Rhee has been working on. We asked her to give us a reading of the two poems, and then had her answer a few questions about her work.
While Christine Hyung-Oak Lee's story "Permission to Marry" doesn't seem obviously linked to the theme of "R/Evolution," a closer read of the story sees the many ways in which the parents -- and their younger generation -- have to constantly re-evaluate how to deal with their changing world and the small rebellions they enact in the face of these changes. History and memory play a big role in her characters' lives. We invited her to read a small excerpt of the story, and then sat down and asked her a few questions.
The creators of APIA Writers for Ferguson invite additional writers and scholars to sign the open letter in a show of solidarity with Michael Brown's family, Ferguson, and the African American community.
A conversation with Ken Liu on his award-winning story, "The Paper Menagerie" and his upcoming translation project, The Three-Body Problem.
The first thing you notice when you dive into "End of the Line" is how the voice of the narrator pops. Tina Bartolome, herself a native of the Bay Area, grabs us with a teenager girl's sass and surety, and from there on, she never lets us go. We see the world through the eyes of a girl on the precipice of becoming a woman, journeying with her as she rides towards a tense sexual encounter that will change her. Tina read an excerpt of this story for us, and then answered a couple of questions we had for her.
Matthew Olzmann's poems are equal parts humorous, quirky, fantastical and emotional. When you enter an Olzmann poem, you often have no idea where he's taking you, but stick with his lines and before you know it, you've been sucker-punched and wishing for more. This is true of the poem he has in Issue 27, "Astronomers Locate a New Planet", which takes us to an imagined world made of diamonds and into their lives, unpacking into a love poem for our times. We chatted with him briefly about his poem, his new book Mezzanines, and his relationship to Asian American literature.
Brynn Saito is the author of poetry collection The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award and forthcoming from Red Hen Press in March 2013. Her poem, “Alma, 1942” is featured in Hyphen Issue 26. We asked her to record a reading of her poem, and then talked to her a little bit about the poem, her forthcoming book, and her thoughts on the direction of Asian American poetry.
"Alma, 1942" by Brynn Saito
Online Exclusive: An Audio Excerpt of “Deliveries” and a Short Conversation with Author T Kira Madden
T Kira Madden is a writer and photographer in New York City whose fiction have been published in venues such as The Fiddleback, elimae,and Fourteen Hills. Her short story “Deliveries” is featured in Hyphen Issue 26. We asked her to read an excerpt of the story for our website, and then chatted with her briefly about the haunting story, as well as her thoughts on fiction writing and Asian American literature.
Excerpt from "Deliveries" by T Kira Madden
Back in November, we announced the winner of the 2011 Asian American Short Story Contest, co-sponsored by Hyphen and The Asian American Writers' Workshop. A runner-up and several honorable mentions were also selected. Stories were judged by Yiyun Li and Porochista Khakpour.
You may now view the full text of many of these stories online. Check it out, and congratulations again to all our winners!
The experience of hearing a poem read out loud can be an entirely different one than reading the words on the page. Here, we offer you audio recordings of Patrick Rosal and Ocean Vuong reading their poems “Guitar” and “Despite Everything, My Dancers,” featured in Hyphen’s Issue 25.