April 2021

Series Curator: Jonathan Cardew

April Selector: Minyoung Lee

What’s rare, what’s bright, what’s new?

This is what we ask a new writer every month in search of the best hybrid, poetry, and flash writing from the previous month. In this edition, we catch up with writer, Minyoung Lee, author of the chapbook, Claim Your Space.

Minyoung gives us a little selection of her favorite writing from March 2021:

Neuron by Lucy Zhang in The Hunger Journal (https://www.thehungerjournal.com/neuron-lucy-zhang)

I love Lucy Zhang’s experimental work where she explores storytelling with interactive elements that are possible through internet technology. She writes with both heart and mind and is actually using code to make the world a better place (in my humble opinion). I was delighted by her new work, Neuron, a puzzle to be solved, rather than read, to be perceived, rather than understood. To me, the spacial elements of her storytelling and fluidity of how meanings change based on perspective feel very much like how we understand and interact with stories in the real world. This one is such a joy to explore over and over and over again.

How to Eat Your Own Heart by Gina Chung in Catapult (https://catapult.co/stories/how-to-eat-your-own-heart-gina-chung)

This story by Gina Chung lingers with you long after you finish it, invites you to feel the heartache, the stabbing of the chest, the hunger. There are so many primal viscerality Chung touches on in this short story, mothers, grandmothers, and the women who came before you and will come after you, the violence of food and what we eat, the way we store hurt inside our bodies that are passed down in bodies that are made from us. 

Wolf Shepherd by Sarah Arantza Amador in Okay Donkey (https://okaydonkeymag.com/2021/04/23/wolf-shepherd-by-sarah-arantza-amador/)

Wolf Shepherd feels exactly like a Sarah Arantza Amador story in the best way. I feel the animal inside of me respond to the experience, the fear and the vulnerability, all in this short piece. The story made me curious about the relationship between the narrator and her hiking partner, one that seems close but strained, as I look for clues between the two much as the two look for clues of wildlife in the trails. Unfortunately, the narrator found wildlife that was all too human and one she cannot share with her partner, and I felt this experience to my bone, as it exposed the loneliness and fear that comes from being a woman sometimes. 

A Nice Blue Place by David Byron Queen in Fractured Lit (https://fracturedlit.com/a-nice-blue-place/)

This beautifully touching story by David Byron Queen about an unexpected fishing adventure feels like a polaroid photo tinted in blue. I love how you can feel the vulnerability of the father, all the ripples that are happening underneath the surface of this family, the love they have for one another, condensed in one short, quiet story. This is the type of flash that can only work because of the form, I think, a short snippet of life that means so much because of what is happening under water.

Why the Filet-O-Fish Is My Gold Standard for Fast Food by Jane Hu in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/magazine/filet-o-fish-asian-americans.html

I hate to share a story that is behind a paywall, but this essay by Jane Hu collectively made a whole lot of Asian Americans weep in April. How so much about the minority experience in America can be summarized by the Filet-O-Fish in such a precise manner is a mystery to me. The way immigrant parents show love to their children through practical ways, even when the words may not always be there, it’s captured so beautifully in this essay.

Minyoung Lee writes fiction and essays in Oakland, CA. Her work appears or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly, Electric Literature, Passages North, among others, and has been anthologized in Best Microfiction 2021. Minyoung is an alum of the Tin House Summer Workshop and VONA Summer Workshop. Her prose chapbook CLAIM YOUR SPACE was published by Fear No Lit Press in March 2020. Find her at https://myleeis.com/

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