Aloha! Time for Monday books! Frameless Windows, Squares of Light by Cathy Song is rooted in the lyric. This work sings. Song is from Hawai’i and is of Chinese and Korean descent – one of the first to bring the words, stories, and feeling of Asian Americans to mainstream literary poetry audiences. She writes with a profound understanding of the significance of story. She has written many poetry books, beginning with Picture Bride, a Yale Younger Poets series award winner, but lately, I have been rereading some of her poems in this book which speak to parenting, childhood, and the intimacies of family.
As a young Asian American writer, I was always looking for narratives, voices, poems, anything that featured the work of those who shared similar experiences to my own. I remember when I flipped open the Norton Anthology and saw Cathy Song’s poem ‘Leaving’. This poem is set in Waihawa, near Kunia Camp, the plantation where my mother was raised. My reaction was this: OMFG. AT LAST! Not everyone frolicked with the daffodils in the blustery countryside wearing flouncy sleeves to cover up their bleeding by leeches. The Greatest Hits canon is great, but words that speak to our time and experience also matter.
Read writers who have come before you, but also know that you can VALIDATE your own life and truths by writing your narrative. Your imagination matters.
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