MISSION

Kundiman is dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American literature.

Kundiman offers a comprehensive spectrum of arts programming that gives writers opportunities to inscribe their own stories, transforming and enriching the American literary landscape. Kundiman sees literature not only as vehicle for cultural expression but also as an instrument for political dialogue and self-empowerment. 

 

History

In August 2004, Kundiman presented its inaugural Workshop Retreat at The University of Virginia. This annual retreat was created by poets Sarah Gambito and Joseph O. Legaspi. Through their own experiences as writing students and writers, both recognized the need for a nurturing and yet rigorous environment for emerging Asian American writers: such a space would facilitate creation of new work, create mentoring relationships, and address challenges that uniquely affect Asian American writers.

 

What does Kundiman mean?

Kundiman is the classic form of Filipino love song—or so it seemed to colonialist forces in the Philippines. In fact, in Kundiman, the singer who expresses undying love for his beloved is actually singing for love of country. As an organization dedicated to providing a nurturing space for Asian American writers, we find in this name inspiration to create and support artistic expression.

 

Impact

More than 140 writers have attended the Kundiman Retreat now held at Fordham University. Fellows report first-time publication in national literary journals, finalist distinction in literary awards and a greater sense of confidence in their pursuit of literary excellence. Kundiman fellows have published work in The New Yorker, The Best American PoetryBest New Poets, Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fence, Guernica, The Colorado Review, Pleides, The New England Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Women Studies Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, The Best of the Net, The Cortland Review, Third Coast, Spoon River Poetry Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Drunken Boat, MiPOesias.

They are attending MFA and doctoral programs at The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Brown University, New York University, Stanford University, The University of Houston, The University of California, Riverside, and The University of California, Berkeley.

Fellow Publications since 2004:

  • 54 Books

  • 47 Chapbooks

Selection of Presses: Alice James Books, Copper Canyon, Graywolf Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Kaya Press, Kore, Four Way Books, Tinfish Press, Red Hen Press, Stanford University Press, University of Southern Illinois, Prairie Schooner, Futurepoem.