National Retreat For Asian-American Poets To Be Held At U.Va. Aug.
Poets will give public reading Friday, Aug. 6
July 30, 2004 --
how trustworthy our daughters,
how thrifty our sons!
How we've managed to fool the experts
in education, statistic and demography--
We're not very creative but not averse to rote-learning.
Indeed, they can use us.
But the ‘Model Minority’ is a tease.
We know you are watching now,
so we refuse to give you any!”
from Marilyn Chin’s “How I Got That Name”
writers Marilyn Chin and David Mura are among a group of Asian-American
poets who will present their work Aug. 6 at 8
p.m. in the University of Virginia’s Newcomb Hall Art
Gallery. A reception will follow the poetry reading, which
is free and
open to the public.
event is part of the inaugural Kundiman Asian-American Poets'
Retreat, the first national workshop
designed to address
challenges faced by emerging Asian-American poets. In addition
to the public reading, three visiting faculty members will
conduct workshops and meet one-on-one with each of the 18
retreat and reading are sponsored by U.Va.’s
Office of the Dean of Students and Kundiman, a New York-based
organization committed to the discovery and cultivation
of Asian-American poets. The organization’s name refers
to a style of Filipino love song that served as veiled patriotism
during colonial times.
executive director Sarah Gambito, a U.Va. alumna,
thought of her alma mater right away when planning the
retreat. She turned
to assistant dean of students Daisy Rodriguez as an adviser
to help with the project. Rodriguez heads up Asian/ Asian
Pacific American Student Services.
strong pressure to assimilate into mainstream American culture
is the main reason
for planning a retreat specifically
has been a tendency in the Asian-American community to dissuade
young people from the arts” in favor of more
lucrative and high-status careers like medicine and
said. If young
Asian-Americans do want to become writers, they often
feel constrained to fit into a certain popular style,
she added. “Through
instruction and collaborative programs with established
Asian-American poets, as well as through publications
and readings open to the
public, Kundiman hopes to advance the work of Asian-American
Mura, a Minneapolis-based poet, nonfiction writer and performance
artist, will give
a keynote address
for the program,
to reading some of his work. Mura’s second
book of poetry, “The
Colors of Desire,” won the Carl Sandburg Literary
Award, and his third, “Angels for the Burning,” is
forthcoming in November. A “Sansei,” or
third-generation, Japanese-American, Mura has written
about his cultural experience in two memoirs, “Turning
Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei,” and “Where
the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality
and Identity.” He
was featured in Bill Moyers' 1995 PBS series, “The
Language of Life,” and has performed throughout
Chin, who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Ore.,
her poetry “both laments and celebrates my ‘hyphenated’ identity.” Co-director
of the master’s of fine arts program at San Diego State
University, her latest book of poems is “Rhapsody in Plain
awards include two grants from the National Endowment for the
Arts, the PEN/Josephine Miles
Award and a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan. She also was featured
in the Moyers series.
Barot, who teaches at Washington and Lee University, and Ishle
Yi Park, a poet from New York, will
also read and work
participants on their
writing. Barot was born in the Philippines and grew up in the
San Francisco Bay area. Park, a Korean-American woman, has
Poetry Jam,” and her upcoming book, "The Temperature
of this Water," will
be released this year.
has already scheduled a second retreat at the University of Virginia
for 2005. For information,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or
Sarah Gambito, executive director, Kundiman , (917) 434-4536, email@example.com