Go Home!—Twenty-Four Journeys from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Feminist Press


I’m honored to be the editor for the Go Home! Anthology. Today, I’m thrilled to announce our contributors. Their beautiful words will be with you in 2018. Some of the names you will recognize—we reached out to writers we admired. Some will be new to you—we want to showcase rising talents. Some were new to us—we met their voices through our open call.

I have been an editor on two lit mags, and a reader for NPR. I’ve read much brilliant unpublished work. I have never cried so much as reading our open call submissions. That’s not to say all the stories and poems were sad, but they had vigor and truth.  We couldn’t include many of the stories that broke me in half. Please keep sharing your words.


Our Lovely Lineup 

Mia Alvar

Gina Apostol

Muhammad Amirul

Chaya Babu

Gaiutra Bahadur

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Wo Chan

Alexander Chee

Karissa Chen

Marilyn Chin

Muna Gurung

Kimiko Hahn

Mohja Kahf

Alice Sola Kim

Jason Koo

Amitava Kumar

Chang-Rae Lee

T Kira Madden

Rajiv Mohabir

Fariha Róisín

Jennifer Tseng

Sharlene Teo

Esmé Weijun Wang

Wendy Xu



Loving tea is a writer cliché of which I am guilty. There’s nothing like getting up to make a cup of tea when fleeing a seemingly unfixable sentence. In particular, I drink a lot of Japanese tea. I end up describing the difference between the different types fairly frequently, so I thought I’d define a few common ones here.

I end up describing the difference between the different types fairly frequently, so I thought I’d define a few common ones here.tea

Matcha (抹) is powdered green tea. This is the tea that appears in the tea ceremony. It is also the tea used to make green tea baked goods, ice cream, macaron, etc. In its unsweetened form it is slightly bitter, but very invigorating.

Sencha (煎茶) Most of the time when you have something described as “green tea”—it’s Sencha. The leaves and the tea produced are green.

Genmaicha (玄米茶) is green tea combined with toasted rice. The flavour is similar to sencha but with a nutty overtone.

Hōjicha (ほうじ茶) is made by roasting the tea leaves. When you brew the tea, it is brown and tastes lovely and toasty. It has less caffeine than matcha or sencha.

Sobacha (そば茶) is buckwheat tea. It contains no tea leaves at all. This is a very nutty flavoured tea. It is wonderful warm in winter or chilled in summer.

(When I get time, I’ll try to write to you about Kyobancha, mugicha, and jasmine tea.)

Which is your favourite?


July 21st—Of acid baths


IMG_2969So my book is coming out in the UK in 3 weeks. I’m pretty excited about that. There won’t be parades. The air won’t smell different. Yet, I’m full of humming hope. But I’m also scared. I don’t know what will happen. Will anyone read my book? Will they like it? To distract myself, I’ve been taking an etching class.

There is a moment when doing a hard-ground etch when you drop your plate into an acid bath. The acid eats away at where you’ve scratched your lines. It is impossible to know exactly how your drawing will come out. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the acid bites where it shouldn’t and leaves dark splotches. But if you don’t put the plate in the acid, you won’t have an etching at all. So you’ve got to dare to do it.

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I’m often suspicious of metaphors using visual art. It’s too easy to make it a stand in for writing. Visual art has its own powers and vocabularies. It has a physicality to it. It is so much more than a metaphor. But for now, I’m clutching my copper plates and my simile and trying not to be too afraid.


Emotional Fiction Video Interview

Inky Dumbbell has a new interview up with Paul McVeigh who is a terrific writer. His short fiction has been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and has appeared in several anthologies. He is the Director of the London Short Story Festival, and Creative Director of Word Factory, the UK’s leading short story literary salon. And he has a novel coming out… so generally whoah.

He talks about how to write emotions that feel real, but overwrought. He talks about the process that works for him. AND he has some super smart things to say about the importance of touch.

P.S. Apologies. My voice is a little bit snuffly as I had a cold. But it is worth it for Paul’s general awesomeness.




Eating fruit and reading poetry, what could be a more decadent friday morning?

“Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,   
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times   
eyes closed. These I painted blind.   
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,   
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.”

The end of Persimmons, by LI-YOUNG LEE. You can read the rest of the poem here:


{Photo credit to me.}

Marginalia : Native Speaker


1. I was reading a library copy of Native Speaker. One my predecessors had bracketed a passage in which Henry is describing the reasons he loves his wife. The note asks, Why doesn’t he tell her this? It was probably just diligence, an annotation for an essay, one of many marginalia to be made and forgotten. But I like to imagine the midnight reader with her blunt pencil, and the cold tea, just despairing for him. Why doesn’t he tell her this? For a moment, holding my own warm tea I had an urge to tell everyone how sorely I love them.


2. Skipping through the book to photograph it for this blog post, I noticed a comment I hadn’t seen before. A writer’s dream:
3. Libraries are magical. 



So I took Jessica Hische’s lettering class on skillshare. It’s a lot of fun, http://skl.sh/1eBPs12. The assignment involved doing a book jacket cover. I chose Carver, who gets a lot of flack these days for being a boring old white men. And although I too have had my fill of boring old white men, Carver writes beautifully. (Which is why he has so many mediocre imitators.)

“I remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people. But this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one. This blind man filled his ashtray and my wife emptied it.” – Cathedral Raymond Carver