Here Is A Pen
an anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets
cover art by Monica Ong Reed

Kundiman. A love song and rebel cry. A community we were waiting for, our whole lives.

2009 signaled many changes for Kundiman, an organization dedicated to providing a nurturing space for Asian American poets. Like other arts organizations, Kundiman experienced cuts in funding in the economic downturn. In particular, organizations that foster marginalized communities and in the arts, no less, are often the first castoffs for a pool of limited resources. With this knowledge, current and alumni Kundiman fellows nationally began to organize fundraising efforts so the annual retreat would not be compromised or cancelled. The annual retreat provides a safe yet rigorous space where Asian American poets can explore, through art, the unique challenges that face the new and ever-changing diaspora. For West Coast Kundiman poets, even in down times, this was an opportunity to give back to the organization and also foster community and strength.

Hearing of this predicament, Achiote Press offered to publish and sponsor a special project chapbook anthology in which proceeds will go to Kundiman, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For this special chapbook anthology, we solicited poems from Kundiman fellows with residences and roots in the western states and those involved in fundraising efforts. This beginning was a pursuit of movement, collaboration, and creation of home, regardless of crisis.

- from the Introduction

Ching-In Chen, Margaret Rhee, and Debbie Yee

Writers Include:
Neil Aitken, Tamiko Beyer, Ching-In Chen, Marilyn Chin, Oliver de la Paz, Vanessa Huang, Janine Joseph, Joseph O. Legaspi, Ngoc Luu, Sally Wen Mao, Noel Pabillo Mariano, Soham Patel, Jai Arun Ravine, Margaret Rhee, Melissa Roxas, Brynn Saito, Sharon Suzuki-Martinez, Yael Villafranca, Andre Yang, and Debbie Yee