What are the types of essays you would like to see in Volume 25?
I want to see essays from a diverse array of perspectives on a wide range of issues in Volume 25. I want to cull from talent from different communities and put together exciting contributions that will push creative and craft boundaries in necessary directions.
What is an ideal submission for you? What would set a submission apart from the others for you?
I’m a generous reader. I am not coming to this particular role with any fixed ideas in mind. I love powerful writing that surprises, captivates, and creates opportunities for both the writer and reader in the experience.
Who are some writers you admire? OR What are some individual poems/stories/essays that you admire?
At the moment, I’m reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass and I am underlining lots of things because I’m excited by elements of the writing, the integrity of the ideas, and the wisdom that has been so thoughtfully distilled and communicated. I appreciate the love of language that Ocean Vuong and Mai Der Vang carry and share in their works. I love Shannon Gibney’s fierce honesty on the page and in person. Sun Yung Shin’s intellect is dazzling.
Is there a form of literature that you find most rewarding to read?
I am a writer of prose but I have a deep fascination with poetry. Poetry is like a flower in the world. I love all the things that bloom.
Name three books that could be used to define you as an editor?
What current journals or presses do you admire, and why?
Graywolf Press, Milkweed, and Coffee House Press are all making incredible contributions to American literature by bringing works in translation, publishing innovative voices that are pushing against the mainstream forces at play.
What projects or pieces are you working on now?
I am neck-deep in a memoir about my mother titled Return of the Refugee. It is a book that’s been simmering inside for a long time. I’m ready to get it into the world. I’ve just finished a draft of a fictional work for younger readers titled The Diamond Explorer about a Hmong boy on the Minnesota prairie, a boy who is destined to become a great shaman but he doesn’t know how. I’ve a children’s picture currently being shopped titled Waiting for Bloom about a rose garden planted in a pandemic.
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, The Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang is also the author of the children’s books A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, and Yang Warriors. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, as Notable Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, the Heartland Bookseller’s Award, and garnered four Minnesota Book Awards. Kao Kalia Yang lives in Minnesota with her family, and teaches and speaks across the nation. https://kaokaliayang.com