Google Meet.png

Illustration by J.D.R.                                              theknowfresno.org

APANO(Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) is shareing their APAHM reading list. APANO is a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice and find solutions to the disproportionate gaps in education, health, and economic prosperity that Asian and Pacific Islander communities often    face.                        SEE BELOW FOR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS


Benson Poetry Slam and #Virtualandia!

 All are welcome!

You can join the  Poetry Slam Google Classroom with code bxm3cwv

Submission forms for your work available now on

the #Virtualandia website 


Current Library 


May 01, 2020

Introducing… Virtualandia!

Local slam poets and writers will create instructional videos focused on one aspect of slam poetry and performance. Each week, we will add a video here so that students may follow along through the process of learning about slam poetry, writing, performing, recording, and revising their poems.

May 01, 2020

MAY is Asian and Pacific Islander Month

Check out theses books that celebrate the authors and stories of Asian and Pacific Islanders.

April 01, 2020

April is Poetry Month

April 05, 2020

Please see above links for resources for distance learning for staff and students.

Please reload

The Best We Could Do
by Thi Bui

Deeply gripping and poignant, this graphic novel memoir manages to be both epic and intimate in its recounting of one family's journey from Vietnam to America. I'm left in awe of what we do for those we love in the face of the impossible.
— Neil, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You
by Yumi Sakugawa

Sakugawa's touching comic-turned-book captures the love in connections that defy easy categories. It's an essential read for anyone with friends, lovers, friend-lovers, and everything in between.
— Candace, APANO Staff Member

Iep Jaltok: Poems From a Marshallese Daughter
by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Take in the powerful words of a resilient Marshallese woman who shares reflections on the impact of climate change, colonization, forced migration, and the legacy of U.S. nuclear testing on her island home in Micronesia.
— Lilian, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

If They Come for Us
by Fatimah Asghar

A timely poetic articulation about immigration, sexuality, and class. It pushes us to think beyond now mainstream liberal parameters of understanding these identities.
— Shweta, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

by Solmaz Sharif

The best poetic response to the dehumanizing, euphemistic language of the endless War on Terror. This book took the top of my head off.
— Jake, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Luminescent, bold, and powerful, these poems find their inspiration not only in the sea, but also in the depths and tides of human interaction. I've been a fan of hers for years, and this book is transcendent.
— Neil, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

by Min Jin Lee

A multigenerational tale that follows the story of a Korean woman who migrates to Japan, this beautifully written book helped me reconnect with my heritage with nuance, exploring modern themes of femininity, migration, and identity in the time and space of my grandparents.
— Joe, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

Serve the People
by Karen L. Ishizuka

An important view of the beginnings of the Asian American movement.
— Chisao, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki

In this metafictional novel, the stories of two characters are woven together with poetic and honest descriptions.
— Jillian, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

We Gon' Be Alright
by Jeff Chang

An essential book by a brilliant cultural critic, We Gon’ Be Alright adds much to our current discourse on race and equity with essays on the history of #BlackLivesMatter, the nuances of the #OscarsSoWhite movement, gentrification as seen through what Chang calls “resegregation,” and so much more.
— Toni, APANO Board Member

West of Kabul, East of New York
by Tamim Ansary

No book has ever immersed me so fully in another culture's — and country's — way of seeing the world, something we need now more than ever.
— Jessica, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Asian American Writers
by Frank Chin, Jeffery Chan, Lawson Inada, and Shawn Wong

Mandatory reading of the Asian American Movement.
— Chisao, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

Poeta en San Francisco
by Barbara Jane Reyes

An operatic and bilingual tour de force of decolonizing literature, and so inspiring for me to find my own voice!
— Jake, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me
by Lorina Mapa

Heartfelt storytelling written and drawn by the author in a unique graphic memoir style, Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me is about the author's experience as an American Filipino immigrant who goes back to the Philippines for her father's funeral. The story goes back and forth between contemporary times and the ’80s. Even includes a ’80s discography!
— Toni, APANO Board Member

by Jane Wong

This is poetry with raw edges, burnt tongues, and crystalline memories, all delivered with a punch to the gut. I felt Wong's words ripple through my very body — read and feel them roar!
— Candace, APANO Staff Member

America Is in the Heart
by Carlos Bulosan

It is the Grapes of Wrath for Filipino Americans. It details the struggle of immigrants wanting a place in America and shows how to be active in the creation of an America for all.
— Oliver, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

by Albert Wendt

In this book, Wendt crafts a story true to the experiences of Samoan cultural norms and values, and to the experience of Samoan diaspora in New Zealand.
— Lilian, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

The Undisputed Greatest Writer of All Time
by Beau Sia

Vulnerable and raw, with all of the emotions a person can feel over years of contemplation
— Jillian, APANO Arts & Media Project Member

by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang's stories are beautiful, clever, haunting... tales that will stick with you for days. This collection includes “Stories of Your Life and Others,” which formed the basis for the movie Arrival; each story in the collection is just as good.
— Jessica, APANO Arts & Media Project Member


Introducing… Virtualandia!

Benson Poetry Slam and #Virtualandia!

 All are welcome!

You can join the  Poetry Slam Club Google Classroom with code bxm3cwv .

Everyone is welcome. In conjunction with Literary Arts (producers of Verselandia), we will provide poetry prompts, video lessons taught by professional slammers including our new Oregon Poet Laureate, a chance to submit work for feedback, share work with fellow  Benson slammers, and a chance to submit to #Virtualandia! Schedule here:

May 1: Intro to Slam-Personification Poem, Brianna Renae

May 6: Video #2: Know and Love Thyself Poetry Writing, Mandela Msanii
May 11 Feedback submission form opens (closes May 18)
May 13: Video #3: Poetry Performance Basics, Oregon poet laureate-Anis Mojgani
May 20: Video #4   Video: Best Practices for Recording Video, Arthur Bradford
May 22: Feedback due back to students
May 27: Video #5  Video: Revision and Editing, Julia Gaskill
May 29 Last day to submit to Online Collection of Poetry (audio, video, or print)
June 5 Collection of Student Poetry Published


Brianna starts with some Slam basics, including poem requirements, the difference between performance and written poetry, and how to make your poems impactful. She was a judge at Verselandia! last year, so she knows her stuff. Brianna has also included a couple of excellent exercises to get your creativity flowing, so that you can brainstorm creative and unique poems that will stay with whoever hears them. You can pause the video to try out the exercises, and press play when you're ready to move forward.

Click here to watch Brianna's recommended video, Gun, by Diego.


Mandela focuses on methods to help students center themselves and find their truth in order to bring integrity and power to their poetry. Exercises include writing affirmations, a love letter to oneself, and explaining what "speaking truth" means to you.

Click here to access the document that Mandela references in the video.

Mandela also plays the first two minutes of a performance by Jasmine Mans and The Poets. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.


Anis lays out five components of performance to focus on, and notes that the performance begins with the writing. He also discusses tips for memorization and connecting to the audience, and reminds us that the goal of sharing poetry is not always to be understood, but to be heard.

You may want to take notes to remind yourself what to focus on as you move forward with writing your poems.


Arthur Bradford, author and filmmaker, gives students tips for recording a well-produced video of their slam poem. Framing, sound, light, and performance are all key to a well done video, and will help students create their best submission.


Arthur shows four examples of videos of slam poems to show what does and doesn't work when recording. Here are links to those videos if you would like to watch them in their entirety:
Lies My Mother Told Me
Suicide Note
My Emerging Self
I'm Ugly


In the final video lesson, Portland slam poet and slam master Julia Gaskill walks students through some of the reasons why revision in poetry is crucial to the writing process. Revision can continue for days, months, or, as Julia explains, even years, and it's never too early or too late to start the editing process. Julia also closes out the video with a few revision exercises for students to try out to perfect their slam poems.


April is Poetry Month


Paisley Rekdal

Danez Smith


 Aracelis Girmay

Tracy K. Smith


Ocean Vuong


Terrance Hayes


Warsan Shire


Eileen Myles


Claudia Rankine


 D.A. Powell


Rickey Laurentiis

Naomi Shihab Nye


Angel Nafis

Julia Alvarez

Anna Journey

Kay Ryan


Write. Right. Rite." Series

Welcome to the “Write. Right. Rite.,” a “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” video series! The “Write. Right. Rite.” is meant to be an entertaining and inventive way to engage with the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds.

According to Reynolds, the “Write. Right. Rite.” is all about learning the ritual of “authentic”—not to be confused with “correct” or “exact”—expression. Throughout the series, he will share his passion for storytelling while discussing topics like creativity, connection, and imagination. At the end of each video, Reynolds will share a prompt that encourages young people to work toward a specific idea. The activities are fun-filled and some are more challenging than others, but Reynolds always makes sure to include brainstorming “get-you-going” questions.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to dive into, try on, and work through the newest episode of the “Write. Right. Rite.”?

Poetry in Your Pocket Day!

More Ways to Participate

It's easy to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day from a safe distance. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 

  • Simultaneously participate in the Shelter in Poems initiative, and select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude. Share what it means to you and use the hashtags #pocketpoem and #ShelterInPoems.

  • Print a poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF and draw an image from the poem in the white space, or use the instructions on pages 59-60 of the PDF to make an origami swan. 

  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 

  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.

  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.

  • Add a poem to your email footer.

  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. 

Discover more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in the classroomin the library, and in the wider community!

This Months Featured Authors

© Benson Library 2019-2020

Tel: 503 916-5100 

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now