Read This Week

Asian American” has always been an inelegant conglomeration, of peoples from all across the world, from nations and cultures too disparate to gather coherently, and equitably, together. But since its coining in the late sixties, “Asian American” has also been a necessary means of organizing in the face of social injustice. “Decades pray me”: I am or we are the prayer of our times. “Asian American” is a fabrication, a blinkered prayer for something like solidarity. We have always imagined our cultural landscapes and broken diasporic supply chains and bomb-shelter ethnic enclaves into being, again and again — and always, 
from early on, to invoke the characters carved into the wooden walls of Angel Island Immigration Station off the coast of San Francisco, by way of poetry. — Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis

“Asian American poetry” is itself a political category. Like the term “Asian American,” it is a category constantly redefined by new contexts; yet it is also one that demands attention to the intersections of poetics and race, and that claims value for the act of placing poems within an unfolding Asian American literary tradition.


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