The Asian American Literary Review

The Asian American Literary Review is a space for writers who consider the designation “Asian American” a fruitful starting point for artistic vision and community. In showcasing the work of established and emerging writers, the journal aims to incubate dialogues and, just as importantly, open those dialogues to regional, national, and international audiences of all constituencies. It selects work that is, as Marianne Moore once put it, “an expression of our needs…[and] feeling, modified by the writer’s moral and technical insights.”

Published biannually, AALR features fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, comic art, interviews, and book reviews. Discover Nikkei will feature selected stories from their issues.

Visit their website for more information and to subscribe to the publication: www.asianamericanliteraryreview.org

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Poems by Hiromi Itō -- from Wild Grass on the Riverbank - Part 2

Read Jeffrey Angles’ short essay about Wild Grass on the Riverbank >> 

Mother Leads Us to the Wasteland Where We Settle Down 

Mother led us along and we got on board
We got on and off again
Boarding cars and busses and planes
Then more buses and trains and cars

I was beginning to think that life would go on forever, it would go on forever, but one day it stopped all of the sudden, that day wasn’t especially different from all the others we spent aboard all those buses, trains, cars and airplanes, when we left the airport just ...

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Poems by Hiromi Itō -- from Wild Grass on the Riverbank - Part 1

Read Jeffrey Angles’ short essay about Wild Grass on the Riverbank >> 

Mother Leads Us on Board 

Mother led us along 
And we got on board 
We got on, got off, then on again
We boarded cars and busses
We boarded planes
Then more buses and trains and cars

The place where we arrived was a building full of muffled voices, it had a cold corridor where people had gathered in droves, they were all looking confused, they were all looking confused as they didn’t know what would happen next, they were sitting and looking around with wide open eyes ...

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Hiromi Itō - from Wild Grass on the Riverbank

Born in Tokyo in 1955, Itō Hiromi is one of the most important women poets of contemporary Japan. Itō rose to prominence in the 1980s with a series of dramatic collections of poetry that described sexuality, pregnancy, and feminine erotic desire in dramatically direct language. Her willingness to deal with touchy subjects such as post-partum depression, infanticide, and queer sexual desire took Japan—a nation more used to images of women as proud wives, mothers, and quiet caregivers—by surprise and earned attention from detractors who decried her lewdness and feminist critics who lauded her as a heroine.

Because she ...

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Poems by Amy Uyematsu

Orchid Season in Mr. Ikeda’s Garden 



The “Welcome” sign 
still hangs above
his garden gate

though koi no longer swim
in the emptied pond
and hummingbirds
do not return at spring

some say the bees
are disappearing too

but Mr. Ikeda’s orchids
can still fill a greenhouse

:
  
White with its bold yellow throat

The palest pink with violet veins

Jungle green freckled with
ginger and maroon

What could be better than choosing
the most gorgeous

Or be lost in so much
luxurious profusion

:

In Japanese legend, life’s bounty
for a man with big ears

Surely, Mr. Ikeda ...

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Asian American Literature Forum Response by Anna Kazumi Stahl - Part 3

Read part 2 >> 

Now, to return to the issue posed in this forum’s prompt: in my case, I must try to find an instance in which both a generational difference and a national-cultural one revealed their criteria and influence. And there was a specific instance, an event I participated in several years ago, in 2004, for the “Japan Theme Day” at the Buenos Aires International Book Fair. I was invited together with an Argentine Nisei, Maximiliano Matayoshi, a talented young novelist who was then just over twenty. By this I mean to indicate that Maximiliano Matayoshi would pertain to ...

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