Locating Contemporary Asian American Poetry


In 1996, Juliana Chang observed that there were a "disproportionately small number of critical essays" on the topic of Asian American poetry and poetics. Asian American literary and cultural study might have grown rapidly as an area of scholarly specialty since the 1970s, but academics still seemed to approach verse with near "fear and loathing." 


Michelle Jia. Image via Flickr.

Towards a Disorientalist Poetics
Michael Leong

“Disorientations,” my long poem in progress, collages together and so “disorients” two postmodern Orientalist texts: Kent Johnson’s Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada and Roland Barthes’ Empire of Signs.

The Refrains of Kashmir: Agha Shahid Ali's Canzones and the Forms of Exile
Caleb Agnew
This paper reads Agha Shahid Ali’s poetics principally through his canzone, “After the August Wedding in Lahore, Pakistan,” epitomizing Ali’s commitment to form as not only a vehicle of poetic expression, but as a figure for dissecting the lyric mode within the continued departures of refrain.
Love, Eroticism, Grief, and Time in Marilyn Chin’s Hard Love Province
Catherine Cucinella
The poems in Marilyn Chin’s most recent book of poetry, Hard Love Province (2014), explore, among other things, love and grief. Love is hard precisely because, as Chin illustrates, it continually circulates within overlapping registers of longing, desire, grief, absence, and presence. 
Inventing a Culture: Asian American Poetry in the 1970s
Timothy Yu
From its inception in the 1970s, Asian American poetry as a whole was an avantgarde, a grouping that defined itself not just through race but through bold experiments with form and style in the search for an Asian American aesthetic.
Aesthetics Contra “Identity” in Contemporary Poetry Studies
Dorothy J. Wang
I do not at all see why we must make an either-or choice between reading Beckett or reading Aimé Césaire, between calling out and into question “cultural desires, drives, anxieties, or prejudices” or analyzing metonymy, chiasmus, sprung rhythm, lineation, anaphora, parataxis, trochees, and so forth.
The Transnational Poetics of Wong May
Jane Wong
What are the dangers of a “raceless” text? What are the dangers of stripping away one’s stakes, identity, nationhood, even life – real or performed?

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