Sueyeun Juliette Lee reads at Lili Coffee Shop to a packed house. Pittsburgh, September 2011.
In September, I was happy to be introduced to the work of three poets I didn't know when Dawn Lundy Martin organized a poetry reading with herself and visiting writers, Nick Demske and Sueyeun Juliette Lee. Today's small press recommendations come from Sueyeun Juliette Lee, whose poems tell us, "Resistance can be subtle and vicious." Juliette also edits chapbooks at Corollary Press.
A dense amount of literary energy was packed into the cozy space of Lili Coffee Shop that night. Lili is one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh--whenever I go there, I run into artists and writers I know, or meet new ones. It's a true cafe in that 1960s sense--you'll see a few people pecking away at laptops, but mostly it's full of conversation. It doesn't hurt that it shares an old brick building with a record shop and a bookstore. Lili regularly generates its own events (music and readings), and often pairs up with the 3rd floor bookstore (Copacetic Comics) for book parties with writers or comic artists.
Sueyeun Juliette Lee writes:
"I'd like to take the opportunity to recommend three Asian American authors who are doing incredible work, work that really pushes against the expectations of what "Asian American" literature ought to look like. The first two in particular take on "traditional" Asian American themes, such as displacement, family, and language, but in completely radical ways that I think regenerate the field."
1. Insomnia and the Aunt, by Tan Lin (Kenning Editions)
"I wrote a review of Tan Lin's book over at Constant Critic, where I'm a contributor."
2. Entwine, by Jai Arun Ravine (TinFish Press)
"I'm a big fan of Jai's, having published Jai's chapbook with Corollary a few years ago. Jai is a multi-faceted artist, writer, and performer whose work I always find challenging and stimulating."
3. Daughter; a Novel, by Janice Lee (Jaded Ibis Press)
"A confession. I haven't read Daughter by Janice Lee yet, but am recommending it solely on the basis of my impression of her as a thinker and critic. I'm still waiting to receive my copy (it's a limited edition release--so folks should hurry before it disappears!) but am a HUGE supporter of folks coming out of the CalArts system."
Recommended by Sueyeun Juliette Lee
Author of That Gorgeous Feeling (Coconut Books) and Underground National (Factory School)