Saturday, February 10, 2007
On Nick Carbo's Guest Edited Issue of MiPOesias: Asian American Issue 2007
Last month, Nick Carbo guest edited a special issue of MiPOesias magazine featuring Asian American poets. It is, as many poets far and wide attested (Ron Silliman, Michelle Buchanan, a few of the contributors themselves), an extraordinary issue. It is remarkable for several reasons: 1) its fairly wide sampling of new and established (for lack of more appropriate terms) poets; 2) the visual attractiveness of MiPOesias itself and that fantastic jumping person on the "cover"; 3) such a gathering of poets in one publication hasn't occurred all that frequently, as far as I know, and it hasn't occurred as of late. If you know of more, please post them here.
A while back, Roger Pao lamented the lack of publications for APA poets and writers. Of course, these writers' work will, through the hard work and commitment of various people, continue to be disseminated. I think of Susan Schultz at Tinfish, Didi Menendez at MiPOesias, even perhaps Small Press Traffic and the Bay Area groups, of course Quang Bao and Jeannie Wong and folks at the Asian American Writers Workshop, Meritage Press, Kaya Press, and more. But as far as I know there are not many regularly published literary magazines or issues devoted to such writers. There are some good ones that have ended their runs, such as Summi Kaipa's excellent publication, interlope. Is disORIENT still around? How about the Moonrabbit Review? Bryan Thao Worra has done a great deal to build and promote such journals, heavily involved in the great journal for Hmong writers, Paj Ntaub Voice. Mor Chang, founder of the great website, asianamericanpoetry.com, has created a wonderful site where all poets are welcome.
This is not a call for MiPOesias to go print, although I am sure she has had many requests. Didi Menendez has already ventured into that with OCHO, along with her beautiful greeting cards featuring her paintings of poets (I recommend the Lorna Dee Cervantes one with the Rilke passage inside the card).
But here's the thing. That issue's just too damned good to be scrolled through quickly like a Google search for Home Remedies for a Backache. I wonder, Nick Carbo or Didi Menendez: how about turning the MiPOesias Asian American 2007 issue into a chapbook? I counted about 36 poets. If funding were an issue, as it almost always is, I am certain there are presses or organizations that could put up a few hundred dollars to address costs.
I have come to love online publications. My favorites are the Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Octopus, Born Magazine, Reb Livingston's great No Tell Motel, and of course, MiPOesias.
But when an issue like Nick Carbo's comes out, I want more. I want to turn the pages. I want to order it for my Poetry class or my Asian American Literature class and teach the poems alongside a memoir, novel, anthology, or play. It's too good to become a minor note in an archive of blogs. It's so rich, I hope we can have more.