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    Racial Things, Racial Forms Objecthood in Avant-Garde Asian American Poetry

    ISBN-10: 160938086X
    ISBN-13: 9781609380861
    Author(s): Joseph Jonghyun Jeon
    Description: InRacial Things, Racial Forms, Joseph Jonghyun Jeon focuses on a coterie of underexamined contemporary Asian American poets—Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and John Yau—who reject many of the characteristics of  More...
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    List Price: $39.95
    Publisher: University of Iowa Press
    Binding: Paperback
    Pages: 240
    Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
    Weight: 0.748
    Language: English

    InRacial Things, Racial Forms, Joseph Jonghyun Jeon focuses on a coterie of underexamined contemporary Asian American poets—Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and John Yau—who reject many of the characteristics of traditional minority writing, in particular the language of identity politics, which tends to challenge political marginalization without contesting more fundamental assumptions about the construction of racial form. In the poets’ various treatments ofthings(that is, objects of art), one witnesses a confluence of heretofore discrete factors: the avant-garde interest in objecthood and the racial question of objectification. By refashioning avant-garde investigations ofthingsinto questions about how American discourse visualizes raceinandonthe body, these poets implicitly critique dominant modes of racial visibility, seeking alternatives to the unreflective stances that identity politics often unwittingly reproduces. At the heart of Jeon’s project is the assumption thatracial form is continually recalibrated to elide ideological ambiguities and ambivalences in contemporary culture. Thus, rather than focusing exclusively on the subject—on interiority and individual experience—Racial Things, Racial Formsalso uses the calculated strangeness of the avant-garde art object as an occasion to emphasize the physical and visual oddness of racial constructs, as a series of everchanging, contemporary phenomena that are in conversation with, but not entirely determined by, their historical legacy. In this critical study, Jeon argues that by invoking theforeignnessof an avant-garde art object as a way to understand racial otherness, these writers model the possibility of a post-identity, racial politics that challenges how race is fundamentally visualized. In addition to appealing to those interested in Asian American studies and race in American literature,Racial Things, Racial Formsaddresses readers interested in contemporary poetry, art, and visual culture, paying particular attention to the intersections between literary and visual art.

    Joseph Jonghyun Jeonis a visiting associate professor of English at Pomona College. He is a poetry editor forKaya, a publisher of Asian/diasporic literature and culture, and serves on the editorial board of1913: A Journal of Forms.  

    Acknowledgments
    Introduction: Seeing Race in Things
    Black Things, White Things: Objecthood in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Language Art
    Speaking in Tongues: Myung Mi Kims Poetics of Mouth
    The Body of the Book: Positioned Phenomenology in Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's Art-Book Collaborations
    Reflections of Things: Ekphrasis and Racial Iconology in Cathy Song and John Yau
    Coda: Hating Yoko Ono and the New Yellow Peril
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index

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