My poem “Oni,” will be featured in The World I Leave You in 2020 from Orison Books, edited by Leah Silvieus and Lee Herrick. It will contain the work of over 60 Asian American poets sharing verse reflecting on faith and spirit.
Among the poets confirmed for the collection already are Kaveh Akhbar, Kazim Ali, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Jennifer S. Cheng, Tina Chang, Oliver de la Paz, Duy Doan, Sarah Gambito, EJ Koh, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Joseph O. Legaspi, Eugenia Leigh, Li-Young Lee, Timothy Liu, Barbara Jane Reyes, Monica Sok, and Jane Wong.
Poets had many ways to approach the subject. They might have considered spiritual practice as a form of resistance against racism, political oppression, or stereotypes. They could have shown how poetry can play a role as spiritual witness, or locating the divine in the natural landscape. They could look at at how religious or spiritual practices create connections to history, ancestors, or culture. They were also welcome to submit poems dealing with doubt or rejection of inherited religious traditions , or verse that utilized or adapted forms of prayers, mantras, rituals, meditations, or liturgies. That’s a pretty wide range of possibilities
Orison Books believes that the best spiritual art and literature “call us to meditate and contemplate, rather than asking us to adopt any ideology or set of propositions. In our view, spiritual writing has little to do with subject matter. Such work is not merely about spiritual contemplation, but itself leads the reader into profound contemplation. It is not merely about the sublime, but itself has a sublime effect on the reader. It is not merely about the mystery of being, but itself heightens the reader’s sense of the mystery underlying the fabric of our daily lives.”
They seek to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrum of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Leah Silvieus was born in South Korea and adopted to the U.S. at three-months old. She spent her early childhood and adolescence in small towns in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley and western Colorado. She is the author of two chapbooks, Anemochory (Hyacinth Girl Press) and Season of Dares (Bull City Press). Her full-length book of poetry was a finalist for the Kundiman, Orison Books, and Agape Editions book prizes and is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2019. Her recent poetry and criticism have appeared in Harvard Review Online, The Collagist, and Boxcar Poetry Review among others. She is a recipient of awards and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets and Fulbright and serves on Kundiman’s Junior Board and as a mentor on The Brooklyn Poets Bridge. She received her bachelor’s degree in literature from Whitworth University and holds an MFA from the University of Miami. She currently travels between New York and Florida as a yacht Chief Stewardess and serves as a Books Editor at Hyphen magazine.
Lee Herrick is the author of three books of poems, Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire. He served as Fresno Poet Laureate from 2015-2017. His poems appear widely in literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks including The Bloomsbury Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Normal School, The Poetry Foundation, ZZYZYVA, Seeds from a Silent Tree: Writing by Korean Adoptees, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd edition, The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed, One for the Money: The Sentence as Poetic Form, Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, and HERE: Poems for the Planet, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama (Copper Canyon, March 2019), among others. Herrick is on the advisory board of The Adoption Museum Project and has traveled throughout Latin America and Asia and has given readings throughout the United States. He was born in Daejeon, South Korea, adopted at ten months old, and raised in California. He lives with his daughter and wife in Fresno, California. He teaches at Fresno City College and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.