New AAPI Poetry, Short Stories, and Memoirs

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Explore the vibrant world of AAPI literature

Hey there, fellow book lovers! Feeling a reading slump lately? Craving something that feels fresh, honest, and bursting with cultural richness? Me too, friend, me too! That’s where AAPI literature swoops in to save the day!

We’re talking stories by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors – from heartbreaking realities to laugh-out-loud moments, these books promise to leave you wanting more. Seriously, AAPI voices are taking the literary world by storm, but with so many options, where do you even begin?

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Think stunning AAPI poems that will leave you speechless, short stories that transport you to new worlds, and memoirs that showcase the incredible strength. So grab your favorite reading nook (or that comfy chair you swear you’ll never get out of), and let’s go on this adventure together!

I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir

by Susan Kiyo Ito

isbn: 9780814258835,template: listGrowing up with adoptive nisei parents, Susan Kiyo Ito knew only that her birth mother was Japanese American and her father white. But finding and meeting her birth mother in her early twenties was only the beginning of her search for answers, history, and identity.

Though the two share a physical likeness, an affinity for ice cream, and a relationship that sometimes even feels familial, there is an ever-present tension between them, as a decades-long tug-of-war pits her birth mother’s desire for anonymity against Ito’s need to know her origins, to see and be seen. Along the way, Ito grapples with her own reproductive choices, the legacy of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, and the true meaning of family. An account of love, what it’s like to feel neither here nor there, and one writer’s quest for the missing pieces that might make her feel whole, I Would Meet You Anywhere is the stirring culmination of Ito’s decision to embrace her right to know and tell her own story.

Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir

by Beth Nguyen

isbn: 9781982196349,template: listAt the end of the Vietnam War, when Beth Nguyen was eight months old, she and her family fled Saigon for America. Only Beth’s mother stayed–or was left–behind, and they did not meet again until Beth was nineteen. Over the course of her adult life, she and her mother have spent less than twenty-four hours together.

Owner of a Lonely Heart is “a portrait of things left unsaid” (The New York Times), a memoir about parenthood, absence, and the condition of being a refugee: the story of Beth’s relationship with her mother. Framed by a handful of visits over the course of many years–sometimes brief, sometimes interrupted, some alone with her mother and others with the company of her sister–Beth tells an “unforgettable” (People) coming-of-age story that spans her childhood in the Midwest, her first meeting with her mother, and her own experience of parenthood.

Root Fractures: Poems

by Diana Khoi Nguyen

isbn: 9781668031308,template: listIn Root Fractures, Diana Khoi Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations of the family come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty and personal risk, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives.

As Terrance Hayes writes, “‘There is nothing that is not music’ for this poet. Poetry is found in the gaps, silences, and ruptures of history.” This astonishing second collection renders poetry into an act of kintsugi, embellishing what is broken in a family’s legacy so that it can be seen in a new light.

A Year of Last Things: Poems

by Michael Ondaatje

isbn: 9780593801567,template: listFollowing several of his internationally acclaimed novels, A Year of Last Things is Michael Ondaatje’s long-awaited return to poetry. In pieces that are sometimes witty, sometimes moving, and always wise. We journey back through time by way of alchemical leaps. Unearthing writings by revered masters, moments of shared tenderness, and the abandoned landscapes. We hold on to to rediscover the influence of every border crossed.

Moving from a Sri Lankan boarding school to Molière’s chair during his last stage performance, to Bulgarian churches and their icons, to the California coast and his beloved Canadian rivers, Michael Ondaatje casts a brilliant eye that merges memory with the present, in the way memory as the distant shores of art and lost friends continue to influence everything that surrounds him.

You’re That Bitch: & Other Cute Lessons about Being Unapologetically Yourself

by Bretman Rock

isbn: 9780358694106,template: listHilarious and earnest, this collection of essays, and never-before-seen photos. Goes far beyond what we know of Bretman Rock from social media. Who is Bretman Rock Sacayanan behind the screen. How did he become the original superstar influencer and today’s beloved best friend of the internet?

You’re That Bitch welcomes you into Bretman Rock’s world. From how his childhood in the Philippines, his family, Filipino culture, and being a first-generation immigrant helped shape him into who he is today. Peek into how Bretman became a social media sensation at the precocious age of 14. Balancing living a glamorous jet-setting lifestyle on weekends while still serving lunch at his school’s cafeteria. Running as a varsity track-star, and making honor roll during the week. With his signature honesty, this is an unfiltered and unprecedented look. At what it means to be one of the first digital celebrities and that bitch. From dealing with cancel culture, drama and heartbreak, to what it means to love yourself and your community.

Interested in poetry collections? Check our poetry online at here!