Marilyn Chin, Lawson Fusao Inada, & Shawn Wong
Thursday, November 21, 2019
San José State University
(See map below)
General Admission: Free
With the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University, the Center for Literary Arts is pleased to co-present Aiiieeeee!: The Birth of Asian American Literature with authors Shawn Wong, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Marilyn Chin on Thursday, November 21 at MLK 225/229 at 6:30PM.
On the 45th anniversary of the publication of one of the first collections of Asian American literature, two of the original editors, novelist Shawn Wong and poet Lawson Fusao Inada, will be in conversation with poet and novelist Marilyn Chin about the process of creating this cultural milestone and the changes in Asian American literature that have occurred since then.
The evening will include an onstage interview with Dr. Noelle Brada-Williams, Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, as well as an audience Q&A, book sale, and signing. This event is free and open to the public.
In the eyes of mid-twentieth-century white America, "Aiiieeeee!" was the one-dimensional cry from Asian Americans, their singular expression of all emotions―it signified and perpetuated the idea of Asian Americans as inscrutable, foreign, self-hating, undesirable, and obedient. In this anthology first published in 1974, Frank Chin, Jeffery Chan, Lawson Inada, and Shawn Wong reclaimed that shout, outlining the history of Asian American literature and boldly drawing the boundaries for what was truly Asian American and what was white puppetry. Showcasing fourteen uncompromising works from authors such as Carlos Bulosan and John Okada, the editors introduced readers to a variety of daring voices.
Forty-five years later the radical collection continues to spark controversy. While in the seventies it helped establish Asian American literature as a serious and distinct literary tradition, today the editors' forceful voices reverberate in contemporary discussions about American literary traditions.
Marilyn Chin is an award-winning poet and author. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon, her works have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms internationally. Marilyn Chin’s books of poems include A Portrait of the Self as Nation, Hard Love Province, Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, Dwarf Bamboo, and The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty. She also published a book of magical fiction called Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, she has translated poems by the modern Chinese poet Ai Qing and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu.
Chin has won numerous awards, including the United Artist Foundation Fellowship, the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, the Anisfield Wolf Book Award, two NEAs, the Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, five Pushcart Prizes, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan.
Lawson Fusao Inada‘s collections of poetry are Before the War: Poems as They Happened (1971); Legends from Camp (1992), winner of the American Book Award; Just Into/Nations (1996); and Drawing the Line (1997), winner of the Oregon Book Award. Both jazz and the experience of internment are influences in Inada’s writing.
Inada was appointed Oregon poet laureate in 2006. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Creative Arts Grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund. One of his poems is inscribed on a stone at the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland, Oregon.
Shawn Wong has written two novels, Homebase (1979) and American Knees (1995), the latter of which was adapted into the feature film, Americanese (2006), directed by Eric Byler. He has edited or co-edited anthologies, including the landmark Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers, The Big Aiiieeeee! The History of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature, Asian American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology, Asian Diasporas: Cultures, Identities, Representations, The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology and The Before Columbus Foundation Poetry Anthology.
Wong has been awarded The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the 15th Annual Governor’s Writers Day Award of Washington, National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation residency in Italy, Society of Professional Journalists, and the South By Southwest Film Festival.
Find Marilyn Chin, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong across the Internet:
Pictures from the event: