Most books have an acknowledgments page. And if writing mirrors life, why shouldn’t lives have them, too? This should have been up a long time ago. There are people in this world who have helped me in a sometimes difficult world. They have encouraged me, traveled with me, cleared my way, even made me feel loved. Thank you!

So Grateful! A Note from Last Year, Western Illinois University

I am so happy to be able to share like this. I sometimes (not too often) search myself on Google. And I just saw this. 

“Rykas books give LGBTQ individuals a voice; a chance to speak up over their oppression. Rykas ability to articulate her inner feelings shows an in-depth mastery over the written word. The enthusiasm with which she reads suggest a passion for the topics she writes about. There were moments within her readings where members of her audience were moved to tears. There were other moments in which they laughed out loud. In just one hour, Ryka Aoki managed to command the attention of everyone in the room. No one was checking their cell phones. No one was looking at their watch. For a full hour, a room full of college students was fully engaged. This is quite an accomplishment in todays world.”

Thank you again, so much to Western Illinois University, and to Merrill Cole. And to Hali Pace, the writer of this piece.





Lambda Lit Fest! March 10

I have been a little behind on the posts. But, Lambda Literary has been working very hard on its first literary festival, right here in Los Angeles. Today, I have the honor of sitting on a panel with Bernard CooperD’LoWendy C. OrtizClaudia Rodríguez and Terry Wolverton.

“In many ways, California has been the leader in the nation for LGBTQ rights, and Los Angeles has been one of the centers for this activism. This Lambda LitFest LA Panel brings together six luminary LA-based writers to express their definition of what is quintessentially LA. Each writer will share some of their work, and then they will discuss what defines the queer literary landscape of LA, how the long-standing history of queer folks in cinema/Hollywood has affected the writing and culture of Los Angeles, and how diversity has shaped our city and the LGBTQ movement. Moderated by Alex Espinoza and followed by a Q/A.”

The interesting thing about poems is one never misses the piece that has never been written. Yet once written, it can seem as it the world could never have existed without it. I think the same thing may go for this festival. It will become a vital, needed part of Los Angeles, and the Queer Literature community. <3 So honored to be part of it.


Much love, Ryka

★ A Starred Review from Library Journal!

Library Journal ”is the most trusted and respected publication for the library community. Built on more than a century of quality journalism and reviews, LJ provides groundbreaking features and analytical news reports covering technology, management, policy and other professional concerns to public, academic and institutional libraries.”

Library Journal has been around for 140 years. And this past June–it reviewed Seasonal Velocities and gave it a starred review! I am so honored!

★ Aoki, Ryka. Seasonal Velocities. Trans-Genre. 2012. 139p. ISBN 9780985110505. pap. $14.95.
This collection of poems, stories, speeches, and performance art is passionate and evocative. All of Aoki’s works have been stunning; an excellent introduction.

As other writers, I work very, very hard to put my best work on the page, and when my words can touch a reader–that is the best feeling.

Thank you so much to Library Journal, and to everyone who has enjoyed Seasonal Velocities.



PS–For any libraries or bookstores, Seasonal Velocities should now be a lot easier to acquire, as it is being distributed by Ingram. You can also just get it from Amazon.

PPS–Yes, I am working on another book of essays to address whats been happening since my first book appeared. <3  More news in Summer/Fall 2017.

Cornell University, AAPI Heritage Month 2016: More Than Just Yellow

“With APAA’s #MoreThanJustYellow Campaign, we wish to highlight traditionally underrepresented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the API community. The silenced histories of these groups have lead to injustices such as the exclusion of brown folks, erasure of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and anti-blackness. Let’s critically examine who in the API community gets to be represented and who is left out. Let’s consider queer, black Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders, APIs with disabilities and low income APIs. Let’s remember that while Asians might be considered the model minority, there are still large problems in our society. Let’s remember that the API community is more than just yellow. By addressing their stories, we hope to reshape what is considered API at Cornell University.”

So honored to be listed here! There is so much work that needs to be done, though. Between the arrogance of Hollywood erasing us, the cowardice of our communities hiding behind our own prejudices, and the preconceptions of other groups thinking godknowswhat about us, it’s not the most chill time to be Asian American. But I think it’s still pretty neat. There’s a lot we can do, a lot we can learn, a lot we can share. If you are reading this, you most likely know me, but please take a bit of time to maybe read up on some of these other amazing folks. Kit Yan, Marilyn Chin, Julie Sze… Check them out. Support their work. Share. <3 Much love, Ryka




Trans Day of Visibililty 2016–”The Woman of Water Dreams” from Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul

Thank you to Media Diversified for letting me share some of my poetry on this Trans Day of Visibility. 

“Media Diversified is a young and growing non-profit organisation which seeks to cultivate and promote skilled writers of colour by providing advice and contacts and by promoting content online through its own platform. Live since July 2013, the initiative is already diversifying the UK’s media landscape, providing important, challenging and new content which contributes to global as well as domestic discussion on issues of issues of social justice, equality, gender, politics, economics and pop culture. In March 2015 Media Diversified launched its Experts Directory, a searchable resource for media organisations of all sizes to subscribe to.. “

Casey Plett

Ok, imagine this. You are a mess. You are crying. All the weight of being trans is crashing down on you and you are thinking you’ve ruined your life and no one will ever love you again. And you call–the editor of the anthology you are a part of? The one who won the Lambda Award? But Casey is that kind of person. I have always thought her amazing, but she has become a close friend, as well. It has been difficult this year, but for no particular reason, she reached out to me and gave me so much support. I really am so grateful. This is her author page. If you might, please support her work. 

Nui Cobalt

Forest Nui Cobalt has been just the best. And we got to hang out in San Pedro and check out some art galleries last time I visited. But what makes me so proud and amazed is how she has channeled her ideals and gifts into a thriving professional life. She is her own boss, and offers not simply products, but knowledge and expertise. And she’s an amazing mom. And a peerless, faithful friend.

logoCheck out her store, look at all the cool stuff! 

Marcy and Eat This Cafe

This place has been my standby breakfast and writing spot. The food is amazing, and the servers are always so helpful. They’ll watch your computer while you go to the bathroom–they’ll pull out the furniture to look for a lost car key. Did I mention the food is great? But mostly, smiling faces and friendly people make the best writing spaces–and Marcy’s place is perfect for that. Plus she’s besties with Lydia Lunch, so I can feel edgy even when I’m eating the tomato soup.

Queer Rebels Productions

KB and Celeste! Again and again, they have been there for me. Celeste came by for Binder Con at UCLA and stayed weith me for the weekend and was amazing supportive. KB has been checking in with me almost daily, just to see how I am during some difficult times. What amazing people. And amazing artists. Thank you!


The mighty TuffNStuff, Drag King of the Blues, and the luminous Celeste Chan are the power couple behind Queer Rebels Productions. But beyond that, they are just super amazing people. Whenever I am in San Francisco, they seem to find a way to visit, to say hi, and often take me out to an amazing breakfast, or trip to the beach, or an out-of-the-way Chinese food place. KB is my favorite guitar player in the world to work with (and they’ve push me to develop my blues harp sound). We’ve talked art, performed, shared deep conversations. Just loving, genuine souls. I thank them for their unending optimism and gosh they are just so cute together, too!

Asterisk Trans Conference 2/27-28 UC Riverside

I was given the chance to close the Trans Asterisk Conference at UC Riverside. It was such an amazing warm and emotional experience. Not only did I run into Kay Barrett and Jade Phoenix and Jade Hambaro, I made a lot of new friends. I read. I sold books, I talked to folks, I had chips. I listened to some excellent scholars and artist.  It was a lot of good times. Super thankful to Alix and nancyjean and everyone who organized an amazing weekend.

I also got to mix modes–I led a self-defense seminar with my students from Supernova! It was packed, SRO, and we distributed all of our flyers–plus, I feel we gave out some good info, too. Grant, Angel, Frank, Trey, and Byron–thank you for driving out to Riverside for the demo.