Emmy Perez, author of Solstice, has fast become one of my favorite poets. She has poems in The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, which in this poet's opinion, is one of the best anthologies in recent years. Throw in a foreword by the extraordinary Juan Felipe Herrera and you have my must-buy book of the month. Emmy's work also appears on the Poetry Foundation's online blog. * I know some of you are anti-anthology, but if you had to recommend one, what would it be?
* I am thoroughly enjoying my e-mail exchange with Ivy Alvarez, whose first book, Mortal, is "a stunning first book," according to Denise Duhamel, and I could not agree more. The poems bend the Demeter and Persephone mythology and work through ideas/images of the body and loss. I have enjoyed it a great deal. Our e-mail exchange, as a focus on first book authors, will be published in Neil Aitken's Boxcar Poetry Review as the interview feature in a forthcoming issue.
* Congratulations to Bryan Thao Worra and Ka Vang on the great article in the Star Tribune about their roots, poems, and vision. Southeast Asia and adoption, poetry and war, marriage and microphones! Bryan's first book, On the Other Side of the Eye, comes out in August. You can order it at his blog.
* To the kind audience members who bought my book at the Fresno Art Musuem's poetry reading and jazz concert tribute for Habitat for Humanity New Orleans on Thursday night, it was a pleasure talking with you.
* You'll feel like you're in an episode of Miami Vice when you're on the phone with the customer service rep and he tells you your code # is, as he told me last week: "D as in Drug, the number 3, the number 4, K as in Kilo, K as in Kilo, the number 7, N as in Needle." These can't be the standard words for those letters, can they?
* We leave for Guatemala this week; we'll be there until mid-August. I feel very at home in Latin America. I'll be taking a few books with me, but no laptop. I like to write on the yellow legal pads when I travel. When you are in the region where poets like Claribel Alegria, Ruben Dario, and Ernesto Cardenal used to write, it's difficult not to write, you know? In my book there are some poems I wrote about Chichicastenango in the mountains of Guatemala. Beautiful, beautiful.
* & to my KAD brothers and sisters leaving for the Gathering in Seoul, I will be thinking of you!