Image: Eduardo Tokeshi, Lost Objects (cropped), 32 X 60 in, 2000. By arrangement with the artist.
This month we present work by Asian Peruvian writers. Members of the second and sometimes third generation of Peru's diasporic Chinese and Japanese communities, these writers draw on both their heritage and the material of contemporary Peruvian society as they stake out new ground for the country's writing. Augusto Higo Oshiro chronicles a deceptively simple life. Siu Kam Wen sees an elderly woman reject the vulgarity of her nouveau riche son and his family. Journalist Julio Villanueva Chang sketches the career of the world's oldest nude model. Tilsa Otta tracks a young woman seeking how best to deploy a supernatural gift. And in poetry, Doris Moromisato pens an elegy to time and place, Julia Wong Kcomt confirms her identity, and Sui Yun addresses the eternal mother. We thank our guest editor, Jennifer Shyue, who contributes an insightful introduction as well as several translations. Our feature presents the winners of our poetry contest, held in conjunction with the Academy of American Poets. Tune in every Saturday through October 3, as we present new work by the winning poets, copublished in Poets.org’s Poem-a-Day series.
A Slice of Writing by Nikkei and Tusán Peruvian Writers
Some of them have often called upon their Chinese or Japanese roots; others have alighted upon the topic only a few times, if at all.
Nobody knows why he went to such great lengths.
The Red Rooster and Inevitable Saint
“She was hot, your aunt Carmen, / she didn’t look Chinese.”
Life Is a Pose
In his spare time, he wears clothes.
Here in Chorrillos
My eyes fill with rowboats
The Final Stretch
The old woman refused to wear any clothing she had not sewn herself.
Four Short Poems
I have licked the tip of evil
The Golden Children of Sexual Alchemy
Ever since our orgasms became supernatural, we’ve been taking better care of our energies.
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield
Mabanckou imbues his narrative with the qualities of a minor epic, placing his young protagonist at the heart of a frightening yet wry tale about politics and murder, family and loyalty, necessary lies and storytelling itself.
Reviewed by Jamie Richards
In Murgia's book, fascism is presented as a form of semantic sleight of hand whereby anything goes under the right terminology.
Reviewed by George Fragopoulos
How does one bring back to life the eroded fragments of authors we know next to nothing about? Gathering six lesser known figures of the Greek lyrical tradition, this anthology puts together translations in which a sense of loss goes hand in hand with the attempt to let these ancient poets sing again.
Reviewed by Lily Meyer
Tragedies become great business opportunities in this entertaining, if troubling, novel about a travel agency specializing in touristic excursions to disaster zones.