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Introduction to Volume Nine: Homecoming Although this volume of AALDP is not a themed special issue, the pieces that make up this issue of the journal seem to have serendipitously clustered around the idea of home. Next year, 2019, will be the 45th anniversary of the Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers, so it is particularly fitting that we start off this issue with an interview of Lawson Fusao Inada, one of the editors of that anthology, and thus one of the founders of Asian American literature as we think of it today. He has been a poet and scholar of Asian American literature for more than half a century, having begun his teaching career at what is now Southern Oregon University in 1966. His longtime colleague at Southern Oregon, Dr. Alma Rosa Alvarez, and her son, University of Chicago undergraduate John Rafael Almaguer, who has known Inada his whole lifetime, conducted an interview with him in their hometown of Ashland, Oregon. In the interview, Inada discusses both his work as a writer in the early years of his career, and his work more recently as the poet laureate of Oregon. In the latter role, Inada has encouraged people to think about how to foster poetry in their own homes. As he asserts, scholars need to move beyond doing scholarship. Sometimes, as academics of color, we lose touch with where we came from. Maybe we can work together to give something back to our own communities. If our people don’t show up, then, we need to go to them, we need to bring poetry to them. (AALDP 6) The second interview between Viet Thanh Nguyen and Andrew Lam was conducted in front of a live audience in the city of San José, a place that both authors called home for a number of years. It was amazing to feel the energy between the two artists, who have known each other for decades, as well as between the speakers and the hometown crowd. As the authors articulated their struggles over the hard issues of representation, especially of the Vietnamese diaspora, the hometown audience was clearly engaged and asked a lot of interesting questions after the initial interview. We’ve included that interaction in our transcription as well. In the large Hammer Theatre of more than 500 seats, no microphones were available for audience questions, so Viet Nguyen listened carefully to each audience member and then summarized and restated their questions and comments for the benefit of the rest of the audience. It was inspiring to see him turn a room that size into an intimate conversation. He is clearly not only a great writer but a skilled teacher as well. The essay which follows the transcription of Nguyen and Lam’s conversation takes their discussion of representing the Vietnamese Diaspora in a new direction. In “Mobilizing the Vietnamese Body: Dance Theory, Critical Refugee Studies, and the Aftermaths of War in Andrew X. Pham’s Catfish and Mandala,” Quynh Nhu Le and Ying Zhu combine their disciplinary knowledges in literature and dance to analyze how Pham corporeally represents his identity. Le

Language

English

Document Type

Editor's Introduction

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