Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Read Something Nice

Poet Michael Parker has written some kind words about some of my poems. I appreciate it very much, Michael! Visit Michael Parker here.


Michael Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Parker said...

Hi Lee, thanks for the post!

(Yes, I deleted the first comment because I mis-spelled a word. Doh! Sorry!)

I couldn't help but write about your poetry, especially "Ars Poetica" and the Adoption. I was deeply moved by the subject matter and imagery in them. They are amazing works.

I will get around to reading the other poems you've included on your website.

Best wishes in getting your book of poetry published!

Bryan Thao Worra said...

This of course leads to the interesting question of the state of Asian American publishing in this country.

Without a doubt, there are an increasing number of poets who are getting published out there by the smaller presses, and occasionally a larger publishing house may find someone that can be packaged for mass market sales, but maybe we need to start talking about what we really want to see in order for us to say progress has been made.

There are a handful of presses out there. Bamboo Ridge Press, and Kaya Press come to mind as presses that are really by and for Asian Americans. One might make the argument that Kundiman and the Asian American Writers Workshop are also entering this niche, but I'm still left feeling a little discontent right now.

Where are the Asian American publishers?

Truth be told, I'm looking at the current models of African American publishing in particular as an example of where Asian American publishing needs to be.

Picking up an issue of Black Issues Book Review, especially the newstand edition, I peruse the ads and am amazed at the vast variety of books they're publishing.

Certainly, some are little more than "book-shaped objects" than actual books of literary value, with things like urban street novels, gangsta melodramas and romances, etc. but there is also an undercurrent of real literary work going on there as well.

Where are our texts, by comparison?

Having talked with more than a few African American authors on the subject, they've felt that there's no shame in going the self-publishing route, and in this day and age, as writers of color, I give increasing thought to the issue.

Why should we wait for validation from the powers that be?

On the coattails of Whitman, Joyce, Elizabeth Barrett Browing and any other number of luminary authors with far less money, technology and marketing savvy at their disposal, why should we play as if the field is still not level?

People tell me that a press has clout, the ability to get your books on the shelf, into customers hands etc.

But I think that's bull today. Crunching the numbers, a smaller operation has just as much likelihood of succeeding as anyone else's with a little patience, perseverance and practice.

A bad book rots just as much whether it's published by a big house or a small house. It's just a question of who notices.

It seems we've gone from an era wherein we would say a book is either well-written or it is poorly-written to: a book is either well-marketed or it is poorly-marketed.

The end point of it all is that if we created more presses we'd see the true growth and formation of the Asian American identity and culture.

Asian American literature should not be a novelty but a genuine movement and institution.

We should demand high quality of production from Asian American publishers, and frankly, readable books on diverse themes and subjects. Far too much unreadable crap out there right now.

But that's my soapbox for the day. Time for supper...

mor x. chang said...


I agree with Michael about your poems. They move and inspire me.