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Our America

Our America: All Life's Matter

- By Marya Zilberberg

Ever since the walk that Saturday, the modest but set-with-care-into-the-lawn homemade sign has haunted me, its simple black font on a rectangle of white foam core. I couldn't believe what I had seen, didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

It stood in my neighbors’ yard, the same neighbors who on the day following the election had raised a flag, a thin white polyester rag with blue letters spelling the name of the winner. It stayed there for a few months, but had to come down, its cheap cloth and flimsy manufacturing no match for our winters. It was the same neighbors who on weekends collect crushed Budweiser cans and plastic iced tea jugs, emptied and hurled onto the sides of the roads of our small rural town out of careening pick-up trucks. They toss them along...

10 Questions

10 Questions for W. Todd Kaneko

- By Abby MacGregor

I am afraid that all my ancestors
have gathered my words like birds

collect hair from the dead
for nesting, an abundance of silence,

whole spools of it ready to tether
me to the trees.
from “Minidoka Was a Concentration Camp in Idaho”, Winter 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I began writing as a fiction writer, so most of my early work is prose. I was infatuated with form and was always trying to write something that was formally adventurous. Like, I wrote a story in flash-forwards because I wanted to experiment with exposition and time. I wrote a story that spanned a whole decade because I wanted to play with lists and compression. Eventually, I...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Matt Huynh

- By Abby MacGregor

You know what we used to do? When we had a questions that we couldn't answer? We carved them into bones. To ask the king. Will we be visited by sickness? Will we be visited by disaster? By harm? By evil?—From "Oracle Bones," Winter 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
It was a surrealist adventure comic, because I didn’t see that available on comic book shelves and it was what I wanted to read. It may seem quite disconnected from the work I make now, but it was the first step in a pattern of creating work that I felt was underrepresented and that begun for an audience of one. Quickly, my work shifted to answering that same prompt by creating comics about my immediate migrant community, my...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Amy Uyematsu

- By Abby MacGregor

lately I feel I belong
to a mind so big—

many calling it sacred
others, love
or breath
—from “The Older, the More”, Winter 2018 (Vo. 59, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
As a college senior, I was lucky to be in UCLA's first Asian American Studies class, “Orientals in America,” during the spring quarter of 1969. I wrote a term paper, “The Emergence of Yellow Power in America,” which led to a job with the new UCLA Asian American Studies Center that opened that fall. I attached three poems to that term paper which ended up being published in the movement newspaper Gidra. Those short poems expressed some of the profound transformations I was...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

- By Abby MacGregor

—from “To the Gentleman Who Catcalls Me Without Fail Every Morning on My Way to Work”, Winter 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 4)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The Babysitter’s Club fanfiction. Well, they were sort of fanfiction. Being the only daughter of former refugees from Laos, I had to imagine exotic American customs like sleepovers, talking on the phone with your friends, and dating in your preteens. Those things were just not. . . typical. I wrote a handful of chapters: I went on field trips, screwed up my first babysitting job, had my first kiss, and helped Claudia cope with her strict Asian parents. Then it got...

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