By Candice Yacono
FROM: Orange County Register
On any given day, you might find Susan Straight walking along the Santa Ana River or throwing darts at the local Elks lodge.
By Dana Isokawa
FROM: Poets & Writers
For our fifteenth annual look at debut poetry, we chose ten poets whose first books struck us with their formal imagination, distinctive language, and deep attention to the world. The books, all published in 2019, inhabit a range of poetic modes. There is Keith S. Wilson’s reimagining of traditional forms in Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, and Maya Phillips’s modern epic, Erou. There is Maya C. Popa’s lyric investigations in American Faith, Marwa Helal’s subversive documentary poems in Invasive species, and Yanyi’s series of prose poems in The Year of Blue Water. The ten collections clarify and play with all kinds of language—the language of the news, of love, of politics, of philosophy, of family, of place—and, as Popa says, they “slow and suspend the moment, allowing a more nuanced examination of what otherwise flows through us quickly.”
By Romeo Oscar Cascolan
FROM: 700 Magazine
The inclusive mindset of the American dream makes the United States a welcoming destination for the variety of cultures that the world has to offer. As a Filipino who immigrated to the United States in 2000 and earned my American citizenship in 2018, I can personally attest to the opportunity within this country; as a result, I am more aware of the struggles and hardships that people endure in the hopes of leading a better life in the United States. The field of ethnic studies focuses on understanding the undeniable impact that these immigrants make on this country. The people involved in these studies may come from vastly different backgrounds, but their goal is always the same: to build upon the principles of freedom and independence that unite all Americans.
Viramontes’ passion for bringing erased communities to the forefront of literature and history has materialized into several acclaimed literary works.
By Jackie Swift
Helena María Viramontes, English, brings people and places erased from history to life again. For years, she has focused her lens on the Latino experience in the United States, writing award-winning fiction that draws from her own heritage as a Chicana from Los Angeles. In her latest novel-in-progress, The Cemetery Boys, she explores the experiences of three generations of East Los Angelenos mired in three different wars. During this exploration, she highlights the mix of ethnicities and marginalized communities that flourished and then faded away in the California of the early-to-mid twentieth century.