On November 2nd, we partnered with NYU’s Creative Writing Program to present the Kundiman Poetry Prize Reading, featuring Sharon Wang’s Republic of Mercy, the 2016 winner, out now from Tupelo Press! It was a packed Friday night reading at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, also featuring Mia Ayumi Malhotra and Franny Choi.
Mia Ayumi Malhotra read from her recently published Isako Isako, out from Alice James Books. A sweeping, engaging work that centers around a Japanese American internment camp survivor, you can feel a chill when she read, "Isako Isako if I could take your words in my mouth. Press your cheek to mine and watch/ the skin dissolve," from ‘Isako, Last Spring’.
Franny Choi read from her chapbook Death by Sex Machine, published by Sibling Rivalry Press. Encompassing cyborgs, her poetry was by turns hilarious and evocative, with one particular line urging the audience members forward: “Remember, they love their blood/ even if they retch at the smell of it," from ‘Turing Test_Love’.
Finally, our headliner Sharon Wang read from her prize-winning debut. Republic of Mercy is an unpredictable, radiant work, and Sharon read these marvelous lines: “I wanted to make you something beautiful... each syllable breaking like water.” Indeed, she has.
We had a wonderful time, thanks to our fantastic readers: Mia, Franny, and Sharon! Congratulations again, Sharon, on your spell-binding debut! We have even more photos in our Facebook album, check them out!