Congratulations to the 2016 Kundiman Poetry Prize Winner!

Tupelo Press and Kundiman are delighted to make the joint announcement that Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine and Poetry Editor Cassandra Cleghorn have selected Sharon Wang of Ridgewood, New York, as winner of the 2016 Kundiman Poetry Prize for her manuscript, The Republic of Mercy.

Sharon Wang's poems have appeared in journals including Blackbird, Omniverse, The Volta, and Tupelo Quarterly. She is a poet and software engineer living in New York City.

Cassandra Cleghorn and Jeffrey Levine on The Republic of Mercy:

This is a startling, ambitious debut. In Sharon Wang's thrilling and corporeal geometry, touch dominates, if often in its "aftermarks": singes, whiffs, folds of fabric, echoing gestures between bodies. A sureness of craft and extraordinary control of tone enable Wang to move through a range of lyric personae, always believable, never reducible, by turns modest ("here move slowly we are not practiced"), speculative, heart-broken, ecstatic, even giddy with vaulting dreams ("But who wouldn't want to be the sun"). With generous language and quicksilver intelligence, Wang expresses "a hunger so large it stops the mouth." In Wang's hands abstractions beget the world; the poems describe what is "hard and brilliant," the spaces between objects, and what's left in the wake of losses. But despite its attunement both to elegy and to witness, the mode is praise: "He loved the world. He loved it suddenly / and without reason." Like the book's favorite flower, the aster, Wang's poems contain something that threads inside them, "asking them to open, shut, live." And live they do. As the poet works to understand, "If in fact it wasn't possible to build/ the world anew," she does build –– extravagantly, judiciously, lovingly. The result is a book of radiant integrity.

Sharon Wang receives a $1,000 cash prize, publication by Tupelo Press, and national distribution.

Heartfelt congratulations to the following distinguished finalists:

Bird of the Indian Subcontinent by Subhashini Kaligotla, A Lesser Love by EJ Koh, Goddess of Democracy: An Occupy Lyric by Henry Wei Leung, When I See You Again, It Will Be With a Different Face by Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Bridled by Amy Meng, So Far by Laurel Akemi Nakanishi, Saying Your Name Three Times Underwater by Sam Roxas-Chua, The Secret Lives of Misspelled Cities by Zohra Saed, and Welcome Home, Spaceboy! by Armin Tolentino.

This marks the second year of the new partnership between Tupelo Press, a nonprofit, independent literary press, and Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American literature. Tupelo Press selects the winner of the annual Kundiman Poetry Prize from among a group of finalists chosen by Kundiman's artistic board. Now in its 7th year, the Kundiman Poetry Prize ensures the annual publication of a book by an Asian American poet. The award is open to self-identified Asian American poets at any stage in their careers.

Kundiman Interim Executive Director Search: Apply by May 31st

We are seeking an interim Executive Director who will advance Kundiman’s mission by supporting our key programs, building bridges across communities, and providing Kundiman with sustainable growth. This position will be supported by a Managing Director and several interns. The ideal candidate is committed to arts and the Asian American community. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for Kundiman’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission.

The deadline to apply for this position is May 31st, 2016.

For more information, please follow this link.

Feb 1 – April 15 (Extended): Submit to the Kundiman Poetry Prize


The Kundiman Poetry Prize is dedicated to publishing exceptional work by Asian American poets at any stage of their career. Winner receives $1,000 and book publication with Tupelo Press. Submit your manuscript by April 15th, 2016. 


Tupelo Press is an independent, literary press devoted to discovering and publishing works of poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established writers.


2015 –– Rajiv Mohabir, The Cowherd's Son
2014 –– Janine Joseph, Driving Without a License 
2013 –– Lo Kwa Mei-en, Yearling 
2012 –– Cathy Linh Che, Split 
2011 –– Matthew Olzmann, Mezzanines 
2010 –– Janine Oshiro, Pier 


Asian American writers living in the United States.

To learn more about general manuscript guidelines or how to submit, please visit:

Support 2016 Kundiman Fellows



Kundiman is excited to welcome new and returning fellows to the 2016 Retreat. In 2015, Kundiman has had a successful campaign, and we were able to raise $15,500 for room and board. Though room and board are free, each fellow must pay a non-refundable tuition fee of $375 plus the cost of travel to attend the Retreat.

In an effort to help first-time and returning Fellows attend the 2016 Retreat, we have created a Support 2016 Kundiman Fellows crowd-funding campaign. Fellows can create their individual teams, in which their networks of family and friends can make a direct donation. 

Check out the campaign here. Read about each of our fellows and show support by giving $5, $10, $20, $100...any small donation goes a long way! Your donation will go toward a Fellow’s tuition and will help defray the cost of travel. Please donate today to support a 2016 Kundiman Fellow! 

about the retreat

This five-day Retreat will take place at Fordham University's Rose Hill Campus located in the Bronx, NYC from June 15-19th, 2016. Poetry and Fiction Fellows will work with nationally renowned Asian American faculty Jaswinder Bolina, Kimiko Hahn, Lee Herrick, Porochista Khakpour, R. Zamora Linmark, and Bich Minh Nguyen. At the Retreat, accepted fellows have the opportunity to write in a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American writers. Generative in nature, the workshops are designed to help fellows write new work. Daily activities include craft talks, readings, group writing exercises, and social gatherings. Our hope is that fellows are able to forge a deeper relationship to their artistic process and are able to encounter their work with renewed focus and energy. 

March 15: Emotive Fruition Call for Submissions

Updated Call for submissions

Emotive Fruition, a performance series where poets and actors come together to create a show of live poetry, is seeking submissions for its May 25th show at the Botanic Lab in NYC. This episode will be held in conjunction with the release of Janine Joseph’s debut collection, Driving Without a License, winner of the Kundiman Prize for Poetry. Joseph's powerful collection speaks directly to the experience of living and writing as an undocumented person in America today. 

For this themed performance, we are looking for published or unpublished poems that explore notions and experiences of (un)documented immigration, migration, home, exile, and/or what it means to be(come) American. We are seeking poems that are written in the first person and can function as a story, a confession, a revelation, an elegy, a reckoning, a moment of desire, etc. We are interested in how a poem on the page can come to life on stage, with the voice of the poet coming through the voice of the actor.

After poems are selected and poets notified, we will hold a rehearsal in Manhattan with both poets and actors on May 23rd. The rehearsal is a time when all the poets involved meet the professional actors assembled. At rehearsal, each poet speaks about their poem, its concerns and intentions, and the actor takes these discussions and directions in so they can sensitively and thoughtfully interpret the text for the stage. Because of the nature of the collaboration, we seek poets who live in the New York City area and who can travel to rehearsal. Kundiman will be able to provide a small honorarium to the poets involved. Please follow the guidelines below. We look forward to reading your work!


* Send one Microsoft Word document of 1-10 poems (NOT PDF!) to

* Please title your attachment and the subject line of your email as “LastName_EmoFru_Year.doc” (example: Dooley_EmoFru_2015.doc).

* Provide your name and email address on each page of your attachment.

* Please include a brief bio in the body of your email.

Deadline: March 15, 2016


Nov 15–Jan 5: Apply for the 2016 Kundiman Retreat! Spread the word!

June 15 – 19, 2016
Fordham University
Rose Hill Campus
New York City

Now accepting applications for the
2016 Kundiman Asian American Writing Retreat

In order to help mentor the next generation of Asian American writers, Kundiman sponsors an annual Retreat in partnership with Fordham University. During the Retreat, nationally renowned Asian American poets and writers conduct workshops with fellows. This year's faculty members are Jaswinder BolinaKimiko HahnLee HerrickPorochista Khakpour, R. Zamora Linmark, and Bich Minh Nguyen. Kundiman provides a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American writers. Our hope is that fellows are able to forge a deeper relationship to their artistic process and are able to encounter their work with renewed focus and energy. 

To apply, submit a cover letter and a brief writing sample of your genre. For poets, submit a writing sample of 5–7 pages. Fiction writers, submit a writing sample of 5 pages (1250 words max). The deadline to apply is January 5th, 2016. Accepted fellows will be notified in late January.

For the poetry application, please click here:

For the fiction application, please click here:

For more information about the Retreat, watch this video:

Photo Credit: Margarita Corporan

Photo Credit: Margarita Corporan

Poetry Faculty

Jaswinder Bolina is author of the poetry collections Phantom Camera, winner of the 2012 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press, and Carrier Wave, winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry. His recent poems are collected in the digital chapbook The Tallest Building in America (2014). They have also appeared in numerous U.S. and international literary journals and in The Best American Poetry series. His essays have appeared on The Poetry FoundationThe Huffington PostThe StateThe Writer, and in several anthologies including Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa Press 2011), Language: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press 2013), and in the forthcoming 14th edition of The Norton Reader. Bolina is a professor of poetry in the MFA Program at the University of Miami. 

Kimiko Hahn has been attracted to disparate source material over her nine collections of poetry—whether Flaubert's sex-tour in The Unbearable Heart, an exhumation in The Artist's Daughter or classical Japanese forms in The Narrow Road to the Interior. Rarefied fields of science prompted her latest collections Toxic Flora and Brain Fever. An advocate of chapbooks, her latest is The Cryptic Chamber. She is a distinguished professor at Queens College, City University of New York.

Lee Herrick is the Fresno Poet Laureate and the author of two books, Gardening Secrets of the Dead and This Many Miles from Desire. His poems have appeared in The Bloomsbury Review, ZYZZYVA, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd edition, and Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, among others. Born in Daejeon, South Korea and adopted at ten months, he lives in Fresno, California and teaches at Fresno City College and in the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.

Fiction Faculty

R. Zamora Linmark is the author of the best-selling novel Rolling the R’s, the novel Leche, and three collections of poetry. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission. His stage adaptation of Rolling the R’s premiered in Honolulu in 2008 to critical and commercial success. He has lectured and taught, as a distinguished visiting professor in Creative Writing, in universities in the U.S. and the Philippines. Linmark divides his time between Manila and Honolulu.

Bich Minh Nguyen is the author of the novel Short Girls, which was named an American Book Award winner in fiction and a Library Journal best book of the year. Her memoir, Stealing Buddha's Dinner, received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. Her most recent novel is Pioneer Girl. Nguyen has taught fiction and creative nonfiction in the MFA Program at Purdue University and the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. She and her family live in the Bay Area. 

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran, raised in Los Angeles and lives in New York City. She the author of the forthcoming memoir Sick (HarperPerennial, 2017), and the novels The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014)—a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" according to NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature, and more— and SONS AND OTHER FLAMMABLE OBJECTS (Grove, 2007), the 2007 California Book Award winner in “First Fiction,” one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Fall’s Best,” and a New York Times “Editor’s Choice.” Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, BookforumSlate, Salon, Spin, The Daily Beast, Elle,and many other publications around the world. She is currently Editor at Large at The Scofield and Contributing Editor at The Offing, and Writer in Residence at Bard College.

To see a full list faculty from previous years, please click here:

Photo Credit: Margarita Corporan


"As soon as I arrived, I was greeted so warmly as if I was among old friends! Here was a group of dynamic people who shared both my struggles—being a writer of color in America—and my passions: a deep devotion to the art of poetry.  I've always heard, read, and spoken about the importance of community in any artistic endeavor.  The poet's road can be a lonely one; the drifting heart needs its anchors.  But I never realized how empowering  a community of artists could be until I spent four days with the Kundiman staff, teachers, and fellows.  I found there what I failed to find in my MFA program, or in any other poetry workshop I've taken: a deep respect and honor among poets; a desire to talk about race, identity, and history, in conjunction with one's composition process; and a willingness to be brave, to fail, and to look silly.  The sillier the better!  In fact, the laughter, energy, and spark never expired, despite the hot, long days and even longer nights.  I thank the founders of Kundiman and the entire staff for having the vision to create and maintain such a fierce

––Brynn Saito

"Kundiman has been a transformative experience toward courage and sensitivity. Never have I been surrounded by such an instant sense of family and fellowship, of bread-breaking over poetry. Writing and reading poems during the retreat were rare opportunities to be vulnerable without judgment. There are no words for the dams that break when we realize we don't have to apologize for ourselves as poets or minorities and can be our whole, complex selves. The Kundiman retreat and family exist in a pocket outside of real time for me, in a space where I learn to push myself beyond what I thought were grace and poise, to a new kind of balance, support, joy, and permission. Kundiman teaches me to live my poems; my successes are worth little without the celebration of this

––Henry W. Leung

For more testimonials, please visit this link:

If you have any questions, please contact us at We look forward to reading your applications!