• Furious Lullaby (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
    Furious Lullaby (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
  • Names Above Houses (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
    Names Above Houses (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
  • A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry
    A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry

  • Requiem for the Orchard (Akron Series in Poetry)
    Requiem for the Orchard (Akron Series in Poetry)


Oliver's work can also be found in the following anthologies.

  • Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing
    Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing
  • Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation
    Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation
  • Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond
    Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond
  • From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great
    From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great

Saturday, Saturday

It's the last official day of the Kundiman retreat after a great many successes and a nice heap of stress. Here's a summary of some interesting things that happened during the retreat so far:

1. Marilyn Chin referring to Joseph's physique and couture as being "pornstar-like".

2. Seventeen fellows, three staff members, and four faculty members getting lost in a caravan through the streets of Charlottesville.

3. Gabbing until 3AM with David Mura over some Maker's while snacking on rice crackers and goldfish.

4. A gala reading with the editor of the new Norton Anthology of American Poetry in the house.

5. Mystery meals at the UVA dining hall . . . and then going up for seconds.

6. Several fellows falling in love with Jon Pineda, the patron poet of Margaret.

7. Bushra gushing about the Athletic Center's hot tub.

8. Chi's seven-year-old daughter's obsession with kitties and bunnies.

9. Ishle singing like a goddess.

10. Renee getting hit-on by a bar patron on her birthday.

11. Late night gossip sessions outside of Newcomb Hall after the gala.

12. Bizarre cheerleading drinking games at the Jabberwocky.

13. Getting lost on the way to Cabell Hall.

14. Cardinals.

15. Learning that Margaret at one time was a go-go dancer at a gay men's bar.

16. Rick Barot's Gray Goose and Tonic.

17. Copy card craziness.

18. Sarah's fun and glittery T-shirts.

19. Grande Marinier in the dorm rooms at midnight.

20. Junno bearing a striking resemblance to an Asian James Dean.

21. "Hey Kid/Listen to your uncle."


23. Jon Pineda and Ron Villanueva jamming in my dorm room.

24. Impromptu poems at the Biltmore Grill.

25. David Mura thinking Sarah was cutting Joseph's steak for him.

26. 3AM sing alongs at the picnic table.

27. Group massage!

28. Ching-In's strange obsession with Rick Barot . . .

29. Rick Barot's triangles . . . schemes of making triangle T-shirts.

30. The Babe's of Asian American Poetry calendar idea.

31. My new identity as Papa de la Paz.

32. Stephen's pepper-spray narrative.

33. Again, Stephen . . . first on the list for the cafeteria.

34. Marilyn referring to all the male fellows as dudes.

35. Kenneth.

36. Hyper-air-conditioned dorm rooms.

37. Co-ed bathrooms between Gildersleeve and McGuffy.

38. "Keep your gold"

39. Four-hour workshops with Rick Barot.

40. Six-hour workshops with Ishle Yi Park!

41. The game of "Find Marilyn Chin" for mentorship Saturday.

42. US Air losing David Mura's luggage.

43. Marilyn's flight delayed until 3AM on the first night.

44. Ngoc Luu's poem at the gala.

45. Purvi . . . how she couldn't stop laughing at Stephen's Haiku.

46. Bushra and her campus map.

47. Hyoejin's sweet vehicle.

48. E-3.

49. Key-swapping . . . it's not what you think, right Sarah?

50. Talking constantly about Harold and Kumar going to White Castle.

Joseph to my right, Sarah to my left . . .

I'm sitting in a computer lab on the campus of the University of Virginia at the moment. Sarah Gambito and Joseph Legaspi are with me, furiously clicking away at the keyboard. At the moment, they're giving me a lot of crap . . . teasing, you know.

We met Carolyn Micklem today. She's the executive director of Cave Canem. We gossiped over Southern food and many spirits. Joseph, of course, had two hurricanes (lush . . . j/k).

Anyway, we've been having a great time planning out this first Kundiman retreat. It's a lot of work and Sarah and Joseph have done an AMAZING job with it. We've got eighteen Asian American poets who'll be coming tomorrow for the workshops. I'll keep you all posted.

In the meantime, I'll try to stay cool. You do the same, okay?

Dear, Dear You,

In my keeping away from you, I've grown fondly tired of the mess I've made.

I've disassembled four bookcases. They were corrupted to the core. They are leering in a heap. I cannot eat them at the moment, although it may make me a stronger person . . . and don't I want to be happy?

All the condiments in the house have found their way into my eyesight. Mustard, ketchup, mayo, ranch, ranch, salsa. They are multi-hued saline drips.

I need an IV now.

My electrolytes are imbalanced and my head is spinning among my wreck.

I remember Coach made us drink Gatorade until we puked. He said, "Son, puking gets all the bad stuff out." I was convinced it was all the running up and down stairs bound in Saran wrap.

Many of us were puking, just to fit in. I told my mom about the puking and she reprimanded me. She said she hated the word "puke" and decided to cross it off my vocabulary. So then I stopped saying it and referred to it as "The Big P."

The conversion has made my life much more difficult. Now, in the moment when I am nauseous and feel "The Big P" coming on, it takes me just a little bit longer to alert others, including myself. It is syllabically challenged.

My house makes me feel electrolytically challenged. I've been climbing up and down stairs all day, sans Saran wrap.

Dear, dear you, this move has made me a challenged person. But as I said earlier, isn't all this, in the end, going to make me a better person? Isn't my keeping away from you going to tighten our belts? Won't we grin soon? Won't we blink?

Dear You,

I'm sorry I have neglected to write to you. There are stars here whose matters are more pressing than my own, probably because of their own gravity.

The magnets against my steel file cabinet have impressed upon me some secret: the yellow of the room I just painted is code for a childhood fault.

The brown of the living room turns blue at sunset. We did not paint the room blue, though some things seek their own form.

I've turned up the hallway rug and found the chemicals of a previous cat.

The basement is awash with the run-off of Summer rain. We've had to save many boxes of poetry. Some of you would mistake this as character building. It is not. Paper is sacred. Being sacred, we cannot put them to our mouths . . . though I had a dog, once, with a fondness for Phillip Levine.

Dear You, I'm sorry for losing track of time, as I am losing track of my many books. I am in a room with boxes, all of them talking to me at once. So forgive me if I cannot hear you.

Weekend Parties and the Boilermaker

Well, the weekend came and went. I had a wonderful time and met some cool people from Hamilton College. But before I get ahead of myself, this past weekend was the weekend of the Boilermaker Race. I . . . slept through the whole thing, but I did hear military jets do a fly-by at the end.

Anyway, I'm in the process of THINKING about packing up. I'm moving at the end of the month into a new 2-family house. I hate moving and it's been hot. So if I'm away from y'all for a prolonged amount of time, you'll know why.

Things have gotten strange

I think this is a project doomed to fail. Apparently at the Siracha zoo, wild animals and domestic animals are taught to live together harmoniously from an early age in order to boost the number of visitors to the zoo.

It's good to see that the tiger is sleeping peacfully . . . but note the piglet. I highly doubt that piggy's going to sleep tonight.

Post 4th, Rainfall, Underworld

Well, Joseph Legaspi came and went. I hope he had a genuinely good time. There's not really a whole lot of stuff to do in my neck of the woods. His plan was to get out of New York City and certainly he achieved that goal when he came to visit. We talked poetry and Kundiman business. The Asian American Writers' Retreat is looking to be a wonderful event. Hopefully it won't be to muggy/hot in Virginia.

Last night it rained. I don't know if that dampened the spirits of the July 4th party-goers. We were too far out of range to see any fireworks from Meredith's deck in Remsen. Instead, Joseph and I watched the Radiohead DVD, "Meeting People is Easy". I made a quiche to dispose of some left-over veggies and some extra eggs. Unfortunately I used a graham cracker pie crust for the quiche, so it tasted strange. I should've skipped the crust. At least the quiche was good with Tabasco sauce.

After the quiche debacle, I plopped in "Underworld", my latest Netflix adventure. It's a truly awful film. I fell asleep right in the middle after several moans and groans about the bad acting. There better not be a sequel.

A Visitor from the City

Joseph Legaspi's coming to visit me for the weekend. He stated that he had two requests: 1) Visit Target, 2) BBQ. I hope to meet all of these requests, quite possibly in the first day. Anyway, he couldn't have picked a more perfect weekend to come visit. The weather in the Mohawk Valley has been pleasantly warm and breezy. Supposedly there'll be fireworks this evening, but I'm not sure where they'll be and I'm not sure if we'll be able to see them from Remsen.

In other news, I saw "Spiderman 2" in the new Marquee Theatre last night. Prior to that, we went to Voss's hotdog stand. Apparently Voss's is a 50-year-old hotdog stand. I ordered a Chili-dog and a Mexi-dog done "All the Way". They were REALLY good. It's a shame that hot dogs are so terrible for you. When I was about four-years-old, I went through a phase where I'd eat nothing but hot dogs and Pringles until I overheard a news report that said the franks were hazerdous to your health. After, I appropriately told my mother that I had eaten four hot dogs and asked her if I was going to die. Anyway, if you're in the Utica area and want to pay me a visit, I'll take you to Voss's.

As for the movie and the movie theatre . . . thumbs up. The interior of the theatre looks cheaply made. Cinder block and cement line all the hallways. Cheap and gaudily bright carpet adorn the floors. Some brightly painted stars skirt the cavernous opening with a brightly lit and long concession stand. As the three of us entered, we saw an overhead projector playing trailers for the up and coming shows. "Spiderman 2" was playing on four of the twelve screens. Of course, I ordered a popcorn and a soda because I can't watch movies without popcorn. In fact, the whole experience of movie-watching is banal without having some for of salty/sweet snack at your fingertips. Anyway, when we got into the appropriate theatre, we could see that it seated around two-hundred people. Our worry was that because of the size of the complex from the outside, the actual screens would be tiny. This was not the case. The screen was slightly concave and relatively large. The stadium seats reached far back towards the wall with a partition sectioning off the area right below the projection window so that no one could put on a shadow-puppet show in the middle of the film. Dark curtains draped the sides to buffer the other theatres from the very loud sound system. If you're not a fan of loud action films, go to the other cinemas because the speakers were extremely crisp. Also, given that the film playing was an action film with a lot of screeching, crashing, and banging, you're liable to leave the theatre with slight deafness or ringing in your ears. I know Marijean's teeth ached after the film. Needless to say, I'm happy with the theatre overall. I saw that they were also showing "Farenheit 9/11" on another screen, so I think there's hope that more serious film buffs will have a better selection in the upcoming months.

Now, as far as "Spiderman 2" is concerned, I enjoyed it. I thought the characters were nice and round. Part of that, I believe, is due to Michael Chabon's involvement in the screen writing process. I also thought that Doctor Octopus was a superbe villain. I won't say anymore. I'm sure you'll hear about the film for quite some time.