The Collidescope has published two of my poems, “A Piece of Lake Came Loose” and “Bedtime Routine.” I wrote these in a couple of generative poetry sessions at the Willamette Writers Conference this summer, both taught by Armin Tolentino, the current Poet Laureate of Clark County, WA. They came about as a result of his exercises having us play with language and metaphor.
I’m so grateful to Armin for his engaging events, and to my friend and workshop co-instructor, Elizabeth Beechwood, for recommending that I go to them!
Today kicks off a monthlong celebration in the U.S. of Hispanic and Latinx/e culture. I’m excited to share that I have an interview coming out late next week with the Horror Writers Association as part of their Latinx Heritage in Horror series. I also have a few publications forthcoming that touch on my Ecuadorian and Peruvian heritage, including an autobiographical poem due out in the next issue of Pilgrimage, my debut mini-chapbook The Inca Weaver’s Tales from Sword & Kettle Press, and a story that will appear in Nightmare Magazine.
In the meantime, here’s some of my writing already available to read:
“Song of the Balsa Wood Bird” – inspired by the folkloric markets of Ecuador and a legend based in the Amazon
Writers of all levels, genres, and formats are welcome in our workshop, no matter if you’ve got a particular character in mind or you just want to study something new and different to add to your toolkit. Hope you can join us on November 13!
I had a great time at the Willamette Writers Conference earlier this month. The speakers were excellent, and I took so. Many. Notes. Good stuff!
This week I facilitated a discussion through the Garden Home Community Library on one of my favorite topics, short stories. In October I’ll be presenting to the Young Willamette Writers on another of my favorites, poetry.
My copies of Triangulation: Energy just arrived in the mail, and I also got my contributor copy of Draw Down the Moon. I’ve got some editing work to do on my chapbook, The Inca Weaver’s Tales. Looking forward to getting that spiffed up.
I said it before when Triangulation: Habitats came out, and I’ll say it again now that Triangulation: Energy is out, I love how in recent years Parsec Ink has used their annual anthology to examine important sustainability-related topics through speculative fiction and poetry. Last year they included my eco-horror story “Discount Night at the Haunted Eco Lodge,” and this year they’ve included my new Latinx futurism poem “Harvesters.”
This poem came about from a mix of experiences: reading about Dyson spheres, watching a video about vertical farming and wondering how that could ever apply to one of Ecuador’s top exports, touring a biodynamic vineyard while studying abroad in Chile, and volunteering as a teenager to deliver school supplies to kids at a local migrant camp.
I’m so excited to share that The Inca Weaver’s Tales, my debut mini-chapbook of poetry, will be published as part of the New Cosmologies project, brought to you by Sword & Kettle Press. New Cosmologies will be a series of 12 mini-chapbooks that explore mythology, beginnings, endings, and feminism through various cultural lenses. It’s in the very early stages (with publication hopefully coming next year), so keep an eye out for future updates!
My grandmother from California used to write poems for fun, and my other grandmother was from Lima, Peru. I consider The Inca Weaver’s Tales a tribute to both of these sharp, inspirational women in my life.
In other poetry news, I have a Latinx futurism poem in Triangulation: Energy, which releases this Saturday. If you’re attending this year’s Confluence, Parsec Ink is hosting a launch party at the convention. I wish I could be there.
The video recordings of this year’s Rhysling short poem readings, generously hosted by Akua Lezli Hope, are available on the SFPA’s Youtube channel. I participated in the third and final reading, sharing my nominated poem, “Sonnet of the South American Sphinx” from Honeyguide Literary Magazine. By the way, this year’s winner, Mary Soon Lee (one of my poetry idols!), read one of her nominated poems there too, and when it was my turn it was so hard for me not to fangirl out that she was there listening to one of my poems.
Feels like it’s been a while. I’ve got a writing announcement to share this Thursday, so I’ll keep this post focused on what else I’ve been up to. Earlier this month, my family went to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary! We’d all been planning this trip since before COVID. It was so nice to vacation with both of my sisters’ families too, letting my kids hang out with all their cousins. We went to Oahu and did all kinds of touristy things. We stayed at the Disney Aulani resort, where I got to experience my first lazy river (very fun!). From our balcony, we could see the giant koi fish, the yellow inner tubes snaking along the waterway, and the snorkelers with their equally yellow life vests.
Yes, I got my snorkeling fix, and when I went with my younger son, he even pointed out one fish he spotted having its gills cleaned by a smaller fish.
We all went to the Dole Plantation, Pearl Harbor, and a luau on the beach where at one point my parents got to stand up (along with all the other couples celebrating an anniversary) while we cheered wildly. One highlight for me was hiking through the Waimea Valley botanical garden to the waterfall. We got rained on big time, and it was lovely. Here in Portland we get our fair share of rain, but it’s different. It isn’t something you experience with your shoulders bared.
And I took lots of photos of foresty stairways.
After the extended family parted ways, my family of four stayed in the Waikiki area of Honolulu. We took a sunset cruise one evening when the waves turned really rocky. The boat even turned around sooner than planned. We found it quite the fun adventure.
We also had a great time at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The evening show applied a storyline to the showcase of music and dancing from different Polynesian islands. It really shows the power of character arc. And I know I’m not focusing on writing in this post, but I had to share that on our way to the center, we passed a place called Haiku Village, and my mind went straight to poetry.
Once we got home…I had to quarantine for COVID. I’m gradually getting back into a more regular routine while trying to stay cool in this heatwave. I did pass a milestone that made me eligible to join the local belly dance troupe for whom I’ve been an on-and-off guest dancer over the past few years. We’ve got a performance coming up this weekend; I might opt not to do a solo this time, as I’m still recovering.
I still remember those early pandemic days when the concept of travel felt so out of reach. I swore I wouldn’t take it for granted. I’m so grateful we got to go on this vacation and especially honor my parents. So many wonderful memories.
Kingdoms in the Wild just announced the longlist for their 2022 poetry prize, and a chapbook manuscript of mine made the cut! They’ll announce the winner early next month. (I have other poetry news to share soon.)
Also in August is the Willamette Writers Conference here in Portland. It was the first writer’s conference I ever attended, yeeears before my first sale. It was a defining moment for an impressionable young writer, which I wrote about in my second blog post ever. I’m excited to go to the conference in person this year, be among fellow writers, learn from speakers and panelists, and come away energized and inspired.
Speaking of nature writing, if you like oceanic imagery in particular, then the magazine the tide rises, the tide falls is for you. They’ve reprinted my poem “Merfolk in the Ghost Net” alongside other works that harken to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” in one way or another. (And if you liked this poem of mine—and perhaps want something less bleak—you might enjoy my flash story “Exchange (A Coral Study) and my poem “The Ichthyocentaur Beyond Marginalia.”)
I’ve added a third part to my series of essays for Sidequest about the particulars of crafting poems about video games. In “Level Up Your Poetry: The Name of the Game Is Immersion,” I examine the role of immersive experiences in both verse and digital gaming, and I focus on how you can play off of these expectations in readers and gamers for greater impact.