Q & A: American Poetry

Q & A American Poetry: Barbara Jane Reyes

Barbara Jane Reyes author photo

Considering my own Filipino American tradition, I think of poets such as Carlos Bulosan, Jose Garcia Villa, Jessica Hagedorn, Al Robles, Catalina Cariaga, Jaime Jacinto, Nick Carbó, Eileen Tabios, Bino A. Realuyo, Fatima Lim-Wilson. Fanning out beyond Filpino American poetry, I think of Jack Agüeros, Frances Chung, Harryette Mullen, Nathaniel Mackey, Juan Felipe Herrera, Haunani Kay Trask. These poets are distinctive to me as American poets, precisely because of their keen focus on issues of migration and transnationalism, in which historically contested home is claimed and redefined via appropriation of canonical text and language, in which a singular English opens up to reveal its plural selves, or is oftentimes supplanted by multilingualism; talkstory/oral tradition; popular, counter, and sub cultures; ekphrasis, performance, and cross pollination with other arts.

From my generation, I think of Suheir Hammad, Evie Shockley, Craig Santos Perez, Kristin Naca, Matthew Shenoda, Sasha Pimentel Chacón, Paul Martínez Pompa, Rachel McKibbens, Randall Mann, R. Zamora Linmark, Joel B. Tan, Javier O. Huerta, Douglas Kearney, Sarah Gambito, Arlene Biala, Truong Tran, Maiana Minahal. I am interested in multicultural poets who concretely root their poetry in what is deeply experiential/personal and deeply political, whose use of form and page is incisive and bursting with music, whose work unflinchingly interrogates and un-others the Other.

Published 2010.

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