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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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Reading Too Much Into

Reading Too Much Into

Marilyn Chin, Translation, and Poetry in the “Post-Race” Era

(p.93) Three Reading Too Much Into
Thinking Its Presence

Dorothy J. Wang

Stanford University Press

Marilyn Chin is one of the few Asian American poets who openly declares her poetry as ’political’ and herself a feminist. This chapter deals directly with the question of her critical reception, first by examining the vitriolic battle between Chin and Copper Canyon Press that broke out in the pages of Poetry magazine in 2008. The Press’ sales and marketing director unfavorably compared Chin’s translation to one done by their own translator. Chin’s response called out what she saw as the veiled sexist, racist, and imperialist assumptions in his letter. She was skewered in subsequent issues of Poetry by various letter writers for ’playing the race card.’ Interestingly, her poems which are often as bitingly critical of racism, sexism, and imperialism, are met with more critical approval—likely because her use of irony entails the possibility of misreading, and might allow readers to miss some of her sharper critiques.

Keywords:   Marilyn Chin, translation, poetry, post-race, Poetry magazine, Copper Canyon Press

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