Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Isako Isako (Alice James Books, forthcoming 2019), winner of the 2017 Alice James Award. She received her MFA from the University of Washington and is a Kundiman and VONA/Voices Fellow. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two daughters.
Mia Ayumi Malhotra
Sasha Pimentel’s award-winning collection of poems, For Want of Water and Other Poems, selected for the National Poetry Series by Gregory Pardlo, offers a fierce, unflinching look at what it means to live, to love and to bear witness on the U.S.-Mexico border. Pimentel teaches in the bilingual MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso, just across the border from Ciudad Juárez, where, as noted in the epigraph of her book, nearly 48,000 people were killed in drug-related violence over the span of five years.
A TransPacific Poetics (Litmus Press, 2017), edited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, is an unprecedented collection of poetry, criticism and essays gathered from across Oceania and the Pacific. Transnational and cross-hemispheric, the anthology articulates a thoughtfully conceived poetics whose ethical and ecological stakes are explored by its co-editors.
Each May, we celebrate both mothers and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as well as Mental Health Awareness Month, and in that spirit of observation, we feature Mia Ayumi Malhotra’s poems, both of which urge us toward reverential praise of the survivor. “To My Many Mothers, Issei and Nisei” names and honors women who were imprisoned in World War II Japanese American internment camps.
Thi Bui’s beautifully illustrated memoir The Best We Could Do is a story of origins: her son’s birth, her family’s escape from Saigon after the fall of South Vietnam and her childhood and young adulthood in the United States.
“Joy lies in blood, bread, / art, medicine,” says Amit Majmudar in Dothead, his third collection of poetry. He is a nuclear radiologist, as well as Ohio’s first poet laureate, and his poems draw eclectically from subjects as wide-ranging as Adam and Eve’s sex life, the art of the semi-colon and T.S.A. security lines.
Private Citizens, Tony Tulathimutte’s debut novel, follows the misadventures of four recent college grads as they navigate the pitfalls of post-college life and reckon with various strains of guilt, addiction, neurosis, mental illness, and the list goes on. Truthfully, the protagonists have little in common but their alma mater.
“I’m looking for a place where I can fill some space. I fill
lots of space. Lots of pretty fuckin’ space.”
—Jason Bayani, “Pulling Threads,” Amulet