The Sealey Challenge: Lineage of Rain

There are times—like, a LOT of times—when I think about my MA advisor. I hear her voice; I see her banging a book on the table or emphasis, or waving it in the air, or demonstrating how one properly annotated one’s texts. (By which I mean: every single inch of potential white space is covered in one’s handwriting, which often loops out across the typeset … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Lineage of Rain

The Sealey Challenge: Washes, Prays

Noor Naga’s Washes, Prays has sat close to hand for a year now, waiting, patient, for the right day and time to be read. Today, when I expected to read something short, was that day—at least for a first read. Washes, Prays is divided into three sections: Khadija—Coocoo—gets the first (“Washes”) and the third (“Prays”), while the middle goes to her best friend, Nouf. Coocoo … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Washes, Prays

The Sealey Challenge: Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions

Janet Wong’s poetry is charming as hell, and Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions is another delightful entry—or perhaps I should say it’s a lovely book in her back catalog. Knock on Wood is built around superstitions: seventeen of them, in fact, each one with a delightful poem accompanied by a lush, warm, almost mythic illustration by Julie Paschkis. The illustrations feel pretty much perfect … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions

The Sealey Challenge: Cowboy & otros poemas / Cowboy & Other Poems

Cowboy & Other Poems, or Cowboy & otros poemas, written by Alejandro Alberrán Polanco and selected and translated by Rachel Galvin for Ugly Duckling Presse, caught my eye for the word on the cover, cowboy calling to mind all the gaucho literature I’ve ever read. (Borges’ “El Sur” made a big impression, okay? And so did “El guacho insufrible.”) I did not find any gauchos … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Cowboy & otros poemas / Cowboy & Other Poems

The Sealey Challenge: Drum Dream Girl

Today I needed poetry of triumph, of grit and determination rewarded, of strength seen and honored, and so I turned to Margarita Engle’s words and Rafael López’s illustrations in Drum Dream Girl, the Pura Belpré Award-winning poem about groundbreaking Cuban drummer Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Engle is well-known, in kidlit, for her gorgeous work in verse: she’s written novels in verse for teens, novels in verse … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Drum Dream Girl

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: Readings in World Literature

Srikanth Reddy’s Readings in World Literature is a strange and delightful cycle of prose poetry, or perhaps it’s poetic essays: I’m not really the expert on that. Reddy, in his acknowledgements, calls Readings “this poem,” so I think I’ll say that it is one poem, or one poem cycle, broken into thirty-three parts. Each is numbered. Some are a full page in length; others are … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Readings in World Literature