In conversation, chaired by Harold Augenbraum.
Three Asian American women writers address questions of literary form and taboo, body and community, voice and text, dream and reality, and what it is to write across multiple borders.
Born in 1951 in Allahabad, India, Meena Alexander began writing poetry at ten years old. While her poetry might be her best-known work, her work spans a variety of literary genres. Her first book, a single lengthy poem, entitled The Bird’s Bright Wing, was published in 1976 in Calcutta. Since then, Alexander has published seven volumes of poetry, includingIlliterate Heart, winner of a 2002 PEN Open Book Award,Raw Silk (2004), and Quickly Changing River (2008) all published by TriQuarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press. She is the editor of Indian Love Poems (Everyman’s Library/ Knopf, 2005) and author of the memoir Fault Lines(Feminist Press 1993/2003). She is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Kimiko Hahn was born in 1955 in Mt. Kisco, New York. She received an undergraduate degree in English and East Asian studies from the University of Iowa, and a master’s degree in Japanese literature from Columbia University in 1984. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Narrow Road to the Interior (W.W. Norton, 2006); The Artist’s Daughter (2002); Mosquito and Ant(1999); Volatile (Hanging Loose Press, 1999); and The Unbearable Heart (Kaya Press, 1995), which received an American Book Award. She is a Distinguished Professor in the English department at Queens College/CUNY and lives in New York.
Jessica Hagedorn was born in Manila in 1949 and moved to San Francisco when she was 14. She is a poet, playwright, and screenwriter whose works include three novels, Dream Jungle (2004), The Gangster of Love (Penguin, 1997), andDogeaters (Penguin, 1991), and a collection of poetry and prose, Danger And Beauty (City Lights Books, 2002). She is the editor of Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (Penguin, 1993) andCharlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World (Penguin, 2004). Her screenplays include Fresh Kill, a feature-length film directed by Shu Lea Cheang, and four episodes of The Pink Palace, an animated series created for Oxygen TV. Among her plays are Dogeaters, adapted from the novel;Stairway to Heaven; and Most Wanted, a collaboration with composer Mark Bennett.