Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blacklava - dreams of the diaspora chapbook - frances kai-hwa wang

Thanks to the awesome Ryan Suda at Blacklava for carrying my latest chapbook with Jyoti Omi Chowdhury, "Dreams of the Diaspora," at Blacklava - dreams of the diaspora chapbook - frances kai wang

Also announcing the unofficial book launch next Thursday, March 13, 2014, 7:00 pm, at Bookbound, 1729 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, with a Reading and Open Mic. Bring something to share!

Dreams of the Diaspora began as a multimedia conversation of photographs, prose poetry, spoken word, and soundscape, in which two voices—an Asian American child of immigrants and an Asian immigrant—explore their very different experiences of both America and the diaspora. Both voices ache with alienation as they wander the globe, yearning for both the future and the past, independence and belonging. As writer Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and photographer Jyoti Omi Chowdhury explore their mutual fascination with landscape, light, space, identity, and the human spirit, this has become a conversation about identity, stereotypes, courage, risk, and who we can become in the space of the beloved.

This chapbook is 40 pages long, and features the photography of Jyoti Omi Chowdhury alongside the prose poems and creative nonfiction pieces of Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. Included in the collection are "'Did you eat? means...I love you," inspired by the Blacklava T-shirt of the same name, "Tsundere Pride or You Are So Prickly!" commissioned by the Asian American Women's Artists Association "Navigating the underCurrents" activist poetry reading curated by May-lee Chai, and "Dreams of the Diaspora" which is also a multimedia art installation at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Indian American Heritage Project H1B visa online and travelling art installation. The cover is designed with antique dingbats, hand pressed by a 150 year old printing press, with a hand-sewn binding by the author.

What people are saying about Dreams of the Diaspora:

The speaker in these poems was born “in the slipstream of the diaspora” and even while using humor, the desires explored here feel elemental and slightly dangerous, like touching the blue tongue of a flame at its hottest point. Born of the latent desire of a lover in the absence of a beloved, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang’s poems are compelling testimonials to living and loving in the 21st century while inhabiting a body of color.
—Ravi Shankar, founder of Drunken Boat and author/editor of eight books/chapbooks of poetry, including W.W. Norton's Language for a New Century

“Where are you from? No, where are you really from?” This pertinent question is at the heart of this multi-form exploration of diasporic experiences in Dreams of the Diaspora by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, where she weaves together themes of lostness, desire, search, self knowledge, history and heartache with eloquence and elegance, and does so with an honesty that is as hard-hitting as it is moving. We hurtle along with her words and the stories that the remarkable accompanying photographs by Jyoti Omi Chowdhury tell, and we begin to reexamine in new ways our own experiences of diaspora with its complex interconnected and disconnected worlds.
—Zilka Joseph, author of Lands I Live In and What Dread

What is so appealing about Frances Kai-Hwa Wang's writing is the smooth blend of the sensory and sensual with a sharp social and cultural critique, the personal and familial with the historical antecedents of communities in which she has her origins. Her awareness of Asian-American issues burns like a steady flame and flares up or simmers as the occasion demands. Her erotic longings are spiced with a dash of humor. She is open to experiment in multimedia formats and content. This is an activist’s collection bristling with literary energy.
—Saleem Peeradina, author of Slow Dance

I feel at home when reading Dreams of the Diaspora. Home is where my nostalgic and hopeful heart belongs. Omi and Frances describe their homes beautifully.
—Lac Su, author of the memoir I Love Yous Are for White People

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