Material that has helped inform my understanding of my Asian American identity, in some way or other.
Actors & Comedians
Magazines & News Sources
Collectives & Orgs
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with questions, recommendations for the archive or library, suggestions for collaboration, or other thoughts.
WHAT IS THIS? Korean-American poet, writer and performing artist Franny Choi is a member of Dark Noise Collective (fun fact: Chicago-based singer Jamila Woods - frontwoman of Milo & Otis, featured in Chance’s Sunday Candy, etc. - is part of this collective as well).
WHY IS IT INCLUDED HERE? Every poem I read by Choi is my favorite but Lineage, Letter to the World From My Eyes, Furiosa, Too Many Truths, To the Man who Shouted “I Like Pork Fried Rice” To Me On the Street and Ode to My Vibrator are some of the best. She rearranged all the words in Lil Wayne’s Pussy Monster in order of frequency and made a poem out of it. She has a nonsensical, rapid and stream-of-conscious way of writing that captures the frenzy and anxiety of a diasporic mind, with micro-agressions triggering thoughts of anger, loss, family, and more.
Seam (2014), Tarfia Faizullah
WHAT IS THIS? During the 8-month long 1971 Liberation War, in which Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan, the Pakistani army raped or made sex slaves of between 200,000 and 400,000 Bangladeshi women. Faizullah traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010 to interview survivors of this atrocity; this collection of poems comes out of these conversations as well as her personal and family history.
WHY IS IT INCLUDED HERE? As a child of Bangladeshi immigrants raised in West Texas, Tarfia Faizullah brings a rawness, vulnerability, and self-awareness to her portraits of the mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and aunts who underwent massive collective and individual trauma, violence and loss. These poems explore the connection and divisions between continents, generations, families, and more in a way that feels both hauntingly personal and deeply historic.