Essays, book reviews, articles, and other prose pieces.
Bowing to the bowerbird
“Sometime early in life I got the message that humans know pretty much everything there is to know about how the world around us works. As I grew older, I learned that actually, there were things we didn’t know—like whether the universe was expanding or contracting—but it was always framed in the assumption that we would know, eventually. That scientists would figure it. That humans have the innate right and ability to understand every aspect of the world around us with our brilliant minds.
I’m slowly coming to realize that this is just not true. This universe is vast, strange, and ultimately, mysterious.” More
Last Days, Part 1
A version of this piece was published in the Black Warrior Review, volume 45.1, and won a 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers.
“We didn’t expect the eagerness that filled us on the last days of empire. For what, we couldn’t exactly say.
Metal glistened on the streets in the hot September days. The sun no longer a dandelion; the sun most definitely a muzzle. When it set, the Corporation—keen to kill the dark—flipped the switch.” More
“Malhotra, through the figure of Isako, reminds readers that many of our mothers and our grandmothers also lived through dangerous times. Her poems insist on the continued corporeal realities of being a woman-identified person of color in this country — both the bodily threats and the endurance of spirit. By conjuring the voices and experiences of generations of women in an ever-present now, she illuminates the difficult reality of the present while also offering us the possibility of a different future.” More
COMPLICATING NARRATIVES: A CONVERSATION WITH BUSHRA REHMAN
“Rehman shows up in her poems real and raw in a world where being any one of these things—Muslim, immigrant, queer—could get you killed. Her brutal and magical poems are like spells, fiercely claiming space and airtime. Now they’ve been collected into a tight volume that spans her childhood, years of her life on the road as a runaway and vagabond poet, and the museum of her past loves.” More
THE NEWEST WAVE OF ASIAN-AMERICAN WRITERS YOU SHOULD KNOW
“Sarah Gambito and Joseph O. Legaspi were sitting in a hammock at a big, Filipino family gathering. Surrounded by food, love, and comradery, the two friends came to a realization: We need this in our literary lives. Right then and there, they agreed that Asian American writers needed a place to find family—and they were going to create that space.” More
Donor Organizers: Behind an Inclusive New Approach to Social Justice Funding
“Rarely in our society do ordinary people come together to talk about money. Even more rarely does a diverse group—people of color, white people, wealthy people and cash-poor people—gather to talk about race and class. And almost never does such a group jointly raise and distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But that’s exactly what happens in a Giving Project.” More
on Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
“...in Oceanic Nezhukumatathil insists, gently and fiercely, that we human beings are inextricable from the rest of the world. I find that I must read Oceanic as both a defiant love letter to wildness, and as a warning: unless we fully understand and embrace this interdependence, we will not be able to save ourselves nor the planet from the destruction toward which we are headed.” More
To fail and to trust
“If we are to minimize the damage we have already inflicted, let alone prevent further damage, we must undergo a tidal shift in how we understand and relate to what we call 'nature.'… I want to rethink boundaries. I want a new kind of sense making that helps us rethink all that surrounds us: the environment in the largest sense of the word.” More
A SLanty Kind of Racial(ized) Poetics
The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind
Eds. Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda, Max King Cap
“Taking to heart Emily Dickinson’s famous exhortation, I’ve been working on how to write it 'slant where the slant is not about avoidance but about an angled approach that – because of its instability – gets us as close as possible to the heart of both the construction of and real-life devastation of race. Like this essay’s title, for example, and its sidelong acknowledgement of a racial slur.” More
Poetry in the Space of Possibility
“When there’s so much information flying all around us, we need to be able to quickly and easily identify what’s 'true' – and we assume that journalists and nonfiction writers will tell us the truth. When they don’t, we feel that we’ve been made fools of. The implicit assumption of trust has been broken.” More