Happy Tuesday! I'm paying attention to my salt intake this week, and so have adapted the following stuffed pepper recipe. Links to the full recipe as well as my own recipe for a salt-free savory seasoning mix!
This month I've been using my Instagram account to generate awareness about heart health and heart disease. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death of people in America? And that many cardiac-related illnesses are preventable with a good diet and conscious lifestyle? These issues are important to me because I was born with a congenital heart defect that requires me to maintain a regular relationship with my cardiologist, and to be conscious about my eating and exercises habits as well as my stress level. This is not always so easy for me as a privileged person living in the US. In the past two years my passion project has been to generate heart health awareness as a means of discussing health equity, identifying gaps in access to healthy foods and services in underserved communities, and using these conversations to advance discussions about the intersection between race, class, and health among American people.
You can view my posts here on instagram @jenlhyde. I have linked each photo I share to a page from the American Heart Association's website. I will post a full list of images and links on my news page on February 28th! Stay tuned!
Happy Valentine's Day! Here's my recipe for a low-sugar chocolate olive oil cake. This cake is gluten free as well! If you enjoy the video, please like it and subscribe to my channel!
I'm honored to share, a bit belatedly, that I was selected as a 2016 Margins Fellow by the Asian American Writer's Workshop! This opportunity has enabled me to not only feel that my work is supported by a community who values my voice, but has also surrounded me with writers who are making work I admire and care for. I keep pinching myself because I feel I'm in a dream.
In the past six months my work has expanded in genre and form. I am currently gathering poems for a second collection and writing a hybrid poetry/essay work that renders the healthcare system from the patient perspective in the narrative medicine context. I also accidentally started a novel.
All of these projects have also given me space to reflect on what my first book means to me now, as a work written three years ago when both the world and I were a little different. My first book will make its way into the world early next year, and I have started to see it as a collection of poems that necessitates new inquiry into my Chinese-Indonesian American story. I am asking myself to write new poems that both embrace and resist what I know, what I fear, and what I think my new poetics are in 2016. My writing practice would look quite different without my AAWW family. I'm not sure I would have the energy to write everyday or the clarity to see that my old writing self, imperfect perfectionist as she was, informs where I am going and my position in conversations about race, social justice, contemporary poetry, and healthcare advocacy. Between old and new work is a strange, delightful place to be.
I am thrilled to share that my manuscript, my first book, Hua Shi Hua (华画诗) Drawings & Poems from China, will be published by Ahsahta Press! These poems emerged in the year I spent living in Shanghai, working as a writing fellow at NYU Shanghai, and exploring paper museums and factories in Zhejiang and western Yunnan. I admire Ahsahta so much, and am honored to have my work find a home among collections by poets I admire, and poets whose work I've recently discovered, who feel immediately important to me. I'm thinking now of Mary Hickman's new collection, This is the Homeland, begun while she was a surgical assistant for open-heart surgeries. After my second surgery in 2010, Joseph McElroy brought me The First Four Books of Poems of Louise Glück, and reminded me to resist the immediacy of the trauma. I'm glad I tended to my urge to be in Shanghai, and to let my own lyric voice develop develop in a landscape so close to, so inside, my heart.
When I shared my news with my mentor, Jen Bervin, she pointed me to a great interview, Solmaz Sharif and Eileen Myles in conversation, on first books! I look forward to reading Sharif's book, LOOK, out from Graywolf Press in July 2016.
On September 22nd my husband and I participated in the Brooklyn Heart Walk for AHA. The route took us past the site of our first date, our New York wedding picnic, and along the new waterfront! I am currently working on an essay about walking.
On November 8th I will attend the AHA Scientific Sessions conference as a Heart Valve Ambassador. From the website, "Programming is designed to improve patient care by communicating the most timely and significant advances in basic, clinical, translational and population health research, spanning the full spectrum of cardiovascular disease from a variety of perspectives, from prevention, through diagnosis and through treatment." I look forward to gaining some insight into my own condition, and to finding better questions to ask!