Friday, January 26, 2007


When I was still in New York, I did a lot of activist work with Asian American literature. I think it would surprise many people to learn that, about those activities, I often feel I wasted my time--it often has seemed to me that much of my work back then may have been appreciated by those directly addressed (by name), but that ultimately such acts just evaporated into either (a) the times when the conflict between literature speaking on its own behalf clashed against recognition of multiple voices within culture with, by implication, non-erasure of its speakers; and (b) indifference.

This past week, to my own surprise, I found myself in backchannel discussion with a poet who shared one of her phD papers -- I quote a brief excerpt from the introductory section of her paper:

By reading against the grain of Marjorie Perloff’s definition of avant-garde, I bring to the fore the intrinsic force of avant-garde poetics for [Asian American School Poetry] writing. Her remarks set the context for my argument into relief. I trace a genealogy for AASP derived from poetics and scholarly discussions collected in Asian American anthology projects over the last three decades to demonstrate how AASP has implicitly responded to aesthetic questions as and through political and disciplinary realities. Subsequently, I focus on recent Filipino and Filipino American, or Flips (a designation that includes both groups) produced anthologies, Pinoy Poetics (Meritage Press 2003) and the Anchored Angel: Selected Works of José García Villa (Kaya Productions 1999), as well as one single-authored collection, ... Flip works particularly belie the hegemonic politics of aesthetic definition. In the context of avant-garde aesthetics and US academics, the predicament of Filipino identity—social, cultural, and aesthetic—is one that demands an inclusive avant-garde approach.


(And, yah, Filipino literature has a unique position within Asian American literature.)

Maybe I didn't waste my time after all.

Besides, I always knew it wouldn't mostly be my peers who'd do the follow-ups (logically focused as we were on other types of clearing ground), but the younger critics and scholars. Well then, ONWARD!

As for this young poet-scholar, I won't identify her by name as I sense she still has much work to do...I just want to blog-note that, this week, I've enjoyed your "lovely brain."