The Sealey Challenge: The Hill We Climb

The world knows Amanda Gorman’s name. Much of the world, I think, has probably heard her speak, her voice soaring over our capitol’s steps, promising a bright, hopeful new day. I watched her live, and cried my eyes out. Last year I read Maya Angelou’s 1993 inaugural poem, On the Pulse of Morning, and cried my way through it. Today, I read Gorman’s The Hill … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: The Hill We Climb

The Sealey Challenge: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

Almost all my friends were Asian American, when I was little—but I almost never saw them reflected in popular culture. In their homes, sure. In museums, too, at least a little. But other than woodblock prints, or Korean pottery, or Chinese jades, I didn’t see my friends or their cultures reflected in the world outside our corner. It makes books like Joanna Ho’s Eyes that … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

The Sealey Challenge: Matters of the Sea – Cosas del Mar

I began this 2020 Sealey Challenge with Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s bleak, fierce borderlands poetry, The Verging Cities, and I end with Richard Blanco’s hopeful, tender Matters of the Sea / Cosas del Mar. My edition, small and beautifully printed, the sea swirling in silver or maybe just another shade of purple on its cover, includes Ruth Behar’s exquisite Spanish translation. The poem in English is beautiful, … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Matters of the Sea – Cosas del Mar