Word S3 E9: Coronavirus Cli-Fi / Asian & Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 10:45am
Updated: Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 12:02pm

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Hari Alluri Candian Writer From Vancouver
Erik Haensel
Hari Alluri is a writer currently living near Vancouver, Canada.

Is the planet getting an environmental reset in the age of COVID-19?

That’s the question we begin with in this penultimate episode of “Word” this season.

Plus, among many things in May, we celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month.

And we explore the complexities of navigating life while being Asian and/or Pacific Islander American in the time of the coronavirus.

We begin this episode with a discussion about the environment in the age of COVID-19.

Reports of less air pollution, returning animal species and even less home water usage due to infrequent showering are abundant. But whether the planet is getting a true environmental re-set is questionable. 

Malik Toms_Education Programs Manager_Piper Center For Creative Writing_ASU
Malik Toms
Malik Toms is Education Programs manager at the Virginia G. Piper Center For Creative Writing on the campus of ASU.

Malik Toms is Education Programs manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU.

Among many things, he writes and teaches science and climate fiction, but also dabbles in fantasy. He joins us to talk about those genres in the time of the coronavirus.

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez also joins us. She’s a Valley poet of Okinawan descent and grew up living in Hawai’i for many years before coming to Arizona after developing a curiosity about the Southwest following her reading the work of Leslie Marmon Silko, a female Laguna Pueblo Indian writer.

We talk about our mutual transitions from island to desert life and she gifts us a poem of her own about Karma.

Sharon Suzuki-Martinez Valley Poet
David Martinez
Sharon Suzuki-Martinez is a Valley writer.

Finally, Hari Alluri joins us. He’s a poet and writer of mixed Asian ethnicity, living near Vancouver, Canada.

Of course, many Canadians live at least part-time in the Valley and take KJZZ back with them via mobile app or our website when they don their snowbird wings for an exit from scorching climes.

As an Indian-Filipino, Hari describes the effects of his emigration from the Indo-Pacific and talks about the writing communities that have helped him deal with his experiences amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Our final episode of this season will be available late this May before we go on summer sabbatical.

In the meantime, send us a message via email to [email protected].  

We’d love to read your recommendations for future guests or even something you liked about this episode.

We appreciate your support of the literary arts in Arizona and the region.

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Thanks for listening.