Foreign Accents: Chinese American Verse from Exclusion to by Steven G. Yao

By Steven G. Yao

Overseas Accents examines some of the transpacific signifying ideas through which poets of chinese language descent within the U.S. have sought to symbolize cultural culture of their articulations of an ethnic subjectivity, in chinese language in addition to in English. In assessing either the dynamics and the politics of poetic expression via writers attractive with a particular cultural history, the learn develops a basic conception of ethnic literary creation that clarifies the importance of "Asian American" literature when it comes to either other kinds of U.S. "minority discourse," in addition to canonical "American" literature extra regularly. even as, it maps an increased textual area and a brand new method for Asian American literary experiences that may be additional explored by means of students of different traditions. Yao discusses various works, together with Ezra Pound's Cathay and the Angel Island poems. He examines the careers of 4 modern Chinese/American poets: Ha Jin, Li-young Lee, Marilyn Chin, and John Yau, every one of whom bears a particular dating to the linguistic and cultural culture she or he seeks to symbolize. particularly, Yao investigates the variety of rhetorical and formal ideas wherein those writers have sought to include chinese language tradition and, in particular, language of their works. Combining such research with large social contextualization, international Accents delineates an old poetics of chinese language American verse from the early 20th century to the current.

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Extra info for Foreign Accents: Chinese American Verse from Exclusion to Postethnicity (Global Asias)

Example text

Even more telling, perhaps, the established conceptions of “hybridity” entirely lack the analytical capacity to distinguish between, let alone assess the political significance of, formal differences between texts within a field of cultural production such as Asian American verse, where matters of stylistic presentation carry TO BE (OR NOT TO BE) 21 at least as much signifying weight as the actual subject or theme of representation. The remarkable variety of “transpacific” combinatory aesthetic strategies and domains of cultural reference displayed in Asian American literary works, and especially poetry, demands a more subtly nuanced critical vocabulary to address them adequately.

Culture: Li-Young Lee. Employing a testimonial mode that currently dominates both the production and reception of Asian American poetic expression, Lee has garnered several awards and even a measure of mainstream popular attention. His verse displays, and indeed self-consciously plays upon, an incomplete knowledge of the cultural traditions to which he lays TO BE (OR NOT TO BE) 37 claim in his attempts to articulate his own ethnicity. In thus presenting ethnic identity as a personal condition of trauma and cultural loss, for which the project of any given poem is to discover some kind of (belated) compensation, Lee exemplifies the strategy of lyric testimony as the hegemonic mode of ethnic verse expression under the present liberal multiculturalist order.

Politicocultural discourse. Keeping with the dynamic of form and language that governs the analyses in the first part of this study, succeeding chapters take up work by various contemporary poets of specifically Chinese heritage and examine their efforts to articulate the terms of an ethnic identity. Accordingly, this second section of the study elaborates a broad historical trajectory—one that is not strictly chronological, but generally descriptive nonetheless— from realism to abstraction within the larger body of Asian American verse since the establishment of that category as a recognized and indeed recognizable cultural formation.

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