Do we read white poets the same way we do poets of color? Dorothy J. Wang’s Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, And Subjectivity In Contemporary Asian American Poetry calls for a radical rethinking of how we read American poetry. Writers of color are seen as secondary to those who are “racially unmarked”. Even within the changing landscape of poets, critics, and academics, the literary and social characteristics of Asian American literature continue to be neglected or seen only in part. Join Dorothy Wang, poet Sarah Gambito and AAWW Executive Director Ken Chen in a reading and discussion on this double standard, and on the importance of reading all poetry not only through style, but also through social, cultural, historical and literary contexts.
Dorothy J. Wang is an Associate Professor in the American Studies Program and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature Program at Williams College. Her main areas of research are twenty-first and twentieth-century English poetry and poetics, avant-garde minority writing, Asian American poetry, and Anglophone Chinese diasporic literature. She previously taught in the English departments of Northwestern University and Wesleyan University.
Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Field, Quarterly West, Fence and other journals. She holds degrees from The University of Virginia and The Creative Writing Program at Brown University. Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets and Writers and grants and fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts, Urban Artists Initiative and The MacDowell Colony. She is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University. Together with Joseph O. Legaspi, she co-founded Kundiman, a non-profit organization serving Asian American poets.
Ken Chen is the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He is the recipient of the Yale Younger Poets Award, the oldest annual literary award in America, for his book Juvenilia, which was selected by the poet Louise Glück. An NEA, NYFA and Bread Loaf fellow, Chen co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily.
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