Anna Maria Hong

Tweens: Asian American Poetry & Poetics in the 2010s

On the 'Vietnam is a Seven-Letter Word' Panel at AWP

“Vietnam Is a Seven-Letter Word” panelists.

On the Thursday of the AWP Conference in Portland, OR, I skipped the long line for badges and made my way through the throngs of people chatting, milling purposefully, and sitting and sipping decent coffee along the corridor floors of the Oregon Convention Center to a panel titled  “Vietnam is a Seven-Letter Word. I was familiar with some of the writers presenting but not all of them, and I was intrigued by the description, which noted that “women of the Vietnamese diaspora [would] offer insight into how writers may elasticize and complicate definitions of one’s various assigned ‘identities’ and lend voice to the silenced, obscured, or overlooked.

Five questions for Alan Lau

‘slumber’ by Alan Lau, courtesy of the ArtXchange Gallery

For this week’s commentary, I interviewed the poet, visual artist, and editor Alan Lau. Alan has served as the arts editor for the Seattle-based Asian Pacific Islander American newspaper The International Examiner for over thirty years, curating the paper’s literary, visual, and performing arts coverage and the book review supplement the Pacific Reader.

For this week’s commentary, I interviewed the poet, visual artist, and editor Alan Lau. Alan has served as the arts editor for the Seattle-based Asian Pacific Islander American newspaper The International Examiner for over thirty years, curating the paper’s literary, visual, and performing arts coverage and the book review supplement the Pacific Reader.

On Ginger Ko's 'Ghosts, Models, Visions' (2017)

Cover of Ginger Ko’s ‘Ghosts, Models, Visions’
Cover of Ginger Ko’s ‘Ghosts, Models, Visions’

The speakers in Ginger Ko’s chapbook Ghosts, Models, Visions contemplate the peculiarities of living in the present and a near-future populated by post-human automatons, strangely evolved mammals, and the unborn. All of these entities have a voice in this collection, along with seemingly regular human beings, and all are subject to the numbing effects of late capitalism, enacting labor that divorces the mind from the body and the self from its selves, and straining under unyielding debt in spite of constant effort.

The speakers in Ginger Ko’s chapbook Ghosts, Models, Visions contemplate the peculiarities of living in the present and a near-future populated by post-human automatons, strangely evolved mammals, and the unborn.

On Tan Lin's 'Insomnia and the Aunt' (2011)

from ‘Insomnia and the Aunt’

Television before the golden age — pre-internet, before streaming, and way before Asian Americans enjoyed substantive roles as reasonably flawed human beings and protagonists — is also a subject of Tan Lin’s ambient novel Insomnia and the Aunt, which blends fiction and multimedia memoir to deliver the portrait of an enigmatic relative who may or may not be real.

Like many poets, I consume large quantities of television, bingeing on excellent and dumb shows as a way to wind down after teaching or writing or other emotionally drafting activity. Poets, of course, are not the only people who do this, TV being the centripetal force that it is and that it has been for nearly a century.

Reading by Don Mee Choi

'My tongue, your tongue is already an aggregate.'

Don Mee Choi and her brother, from Hardly War

About sixty people gathered in Bennington College’s Tishman Lecture Hall on the evening of November 28, 2018 for Don Mee Choi’s reading for the Poetry at Bennington series, mostly professors, students, and local artists and poets including Mary Ruefle and the painter and collagist Mary Lum.