MOCAREADS: Re-imagining Asian American (and American) Poetry

Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Admission is free

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When will American poetry and poetics stop viewing poetry by racialized persons as a secondary subject within the field? Dorothy J. Wang, Professor of American Studies (Williams College), makes an impassioned case that now is the time. Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry calls for a radical rethinking of how American poetry is being read today, offering its own reading as a roadmap.


Join scholar Dorothy J. Wang and a gathering of contemporary Chinese American poets in a dialogue about the impact of racial subjectivity on the conception of Asian American poetic form, craft and aesthetic. Marilyn Chin, Paolo Javier, and John Yau and will perform original work showcasing a range of aesthetic styles within the field of Asian American poetry, from traditional lyric to avant-garde.

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About the Panelists


Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. Her books have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms internationally. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and is featured in a variety of anthologies. She has read and taught workshops all over the world, recently taught at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and was guest poet at universities in Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manchester, Sydney and Berlin and elsewhere. In addition to writing poetry and tales, she has translated poems by the modern Chinese poet Ai Qing and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu. She considers poetry her home and San Diego her most recent exile.


Paolo Javier is the author of four full-length books of poetry, including Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books, forthcoming). The outgoing Queens Poet Laureate (2010-14), he publishes, an online journal of innovative language art, and curates Queens Poet Lore, a roving poetry series set across the borough.

John Yau is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, critic, editor, and publisher of Black Square Editions, a press he started in 1999. He recently published a book of poetry, Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) and a chapbook, Egyptian Sonnets (Rain Taxi, 2012). He is an editor for the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend. He teaches at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University) and lives in New York City.

Drawing of John Yau illustrated by Luca Del Baldo in 2014.


Dorothy J. Wang is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Program and Faculty Affiliate in the English Department at Williams College. She previously taught at Northwestern University and Wesleyan University. Wang holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in poetry writing from Johns Hopkins University. She grew up in eastern North Carolina.