The anthology Poems from the Edge of Extinction (Chambers, UK, 2019) edited by well-known English poet, Chris McCabe, was launched at Poetry International, The Southbank Centre, London in mid-October, 2019. He was the MC on this occasion, as well as for several other events during the festival. It is an important collection of poetry written in indigenous languages — including my own, te reo Māori — which are being threatened by dominant Hydra-like languages — like English and to a lesser extent others, such as Mandarin.
In part two of this commentary post, I will include several poems by the poets featured in part one, furher emphasizing their frankness and willingness to speak their minds about cultural connections and disconnections as Kiwi Asian poets, as well as about how they see Aotearoa New Zealand per se.
I will also feature Shasha Ali and her own comments with regard to the questions I asked other poets, in part one.
I was completing a chapter in the forthcoming 2019 book, English in the South, edited by Kyria Finardi and published by Eduel, Brazil, when I thought that I really must write a commentary regarding the influx of young Asian poets, who were born in Aotearoa New Zealand, or have arrived to live here for long periods. Why? Because my chapter is entitled Confronting the English language Hydra in Aotearoa New Zealand and bemoans the lack of recognition given to Asian languages in the country because of the domination of English language exponents and their monolingual expectations, and the concomitant definite lack of deference to Asian peoples per se — despite the fact they will be the second largest cultural demographic here by 2026.