The following is a sample of recent and upcoming work by faculty.
Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry
(winner of the 2016 Association for Asian American Studies’ award for best book in literary criticism, Honorable Mention in the Poetry Foundation’s inaugural Pegasus Prize in Criticism , chosen by Ben Lerner for The New Yorker‘s “The Books We Loved in 2016” year-end list)
Stanford University Press
Syndicate symposium on Thinking Its Presence
Can minority poetry contribute meaningfully to American poetry and poetics? Dorothy J. Wang makes an impassioned case that indeed it can, while taking pains to point out that such a claim does not square with the status quo. Poetry by racialized persons, she notes, is almost always read as secondary to the larger (and more “primary”) fields of English-language poetry and poetics. Thinking Its Presence calls for a radical rethinking of how American poetry is being read today.
While focusing on the work of five contemporary Asian American poets—Li-Young Lee, Marilyn Chin, John Yau, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and Pamela Lu—the book makes the larger case that aesthetic forms are inseparable from social, political, and historical contexts when it comes to the writing and reception of poetry. Wang questions the tendency of critics and academics alike to occlude the role of race in their discussions of the American poetic tradition and casts a harsh light on the double standard they apply in reading poems by poets who are racial minorities.
This is the first sustained and detailed study of the formal properties in Asian American poetry across a range of aesthetic styles, from traditional lyric to avant-garde. With passion and conviction, Wang argues effectively that critics should read minority poetry with the same attention to language and form that they bring to their analyses of writing by white poets.
Four Weathercocks, (Marick Press, 2016)