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Thinking Its PresenceForm, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry$
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Dorothy J. Wang

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783651

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783651.001.0001

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Aesthetics Contra “Identity” in Contemporary Poetry Studies

(p.1) One Introduction
Thinking Its Presence

Dorothy J. Wang

Stanford University Press

The Introduction begins with a discussion about the interplay between racial subjectivity and poetic writing. This interplay depends crucially upon paying close attention to the language and structures of the individual. This praxis-based critical argumentation, in which the poems themselves suggest theoretical orientations, resists abstract generalizations that can oversimplify (and render reductive and one-dimensional) arguments about racial subjectivity and minority poetry. Following this discussion, an overview of subsequent chapters, and the poets featured therein (including Li-Young Lee, John Yau, Marilyn Chin, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and Pamela Lu) is provided. Each poet’s work is considered in turn through detailed readings, a formal crux or mode (metaphor, irony, parody, the subjunctive mood) whose deployment is central to his or her poetic project and whose structure articulates the poet’s working out of a larger political (in the broadest sense of that term) and/or poetic concern or question.

Keywords:   aesthetics, identity, poetry, Li-Young Lee, John Yau, Marilyn Chin, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Pamela Lu, Asian American

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