Sunday, March 06, 2005

Timothy Yu, who, by the way, has recently arrived in Toronto, writes the following in a post about his quitting the Poetics list:

I have to say a few words about the particular ways in which Asians get talked about on this list, which I would argue has everything to do with the peculiar, at times even pathological, relationship American poetry has with Asian culture. For the past hundred years (and longer), Asian cultural influences have played a role in some of the most significant breakthroughs in American poetry, from Pound and Moore to Rexroth, Ginsberg and Snyder. But for some American writers, this fascination has become a kind of appropriation--a claim to insider knowledge of Asian culture that turns the West into the privileged interpreter of the meanings of the East. The insidious implications of this dynamic are evident from discussions on this list, where members defend stereotyped and even racist images of Asians by pointing to their own personal experiences in Asia. It's a gesture that's particularly frustrating for Asian Americans, who often find themselves being treated as merely attenuated examples of "real" Asians (as opposed to an ethnic group with a particular history in the U.S.) and lectured on the true meaning of Asian culture by white men who have traveled to Asia. (It's not the resident of China or Japan who is most likely to be affected by an ethnic slur, but the person of Asian ancestry in the U.S.) As more and more young Asian American writers appear on the scene, the American avant-garde is going to have to reevaluate the terms of its romance with Asia.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey there... does he know abt lex? i don't know how to contact him, or else i'd send a note abt lex.


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