Asian American Poetry

Sojung Park

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Asian American Poetry

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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The early poetry written by Asians in the United States was the work of immigrant laborers and foreign students—roles that often merged into each other, with migrant workers who composed their verse in rare moments of contemplation, in which they schooled themselves in the art of verse, and scions of wealthy families who found themselves serving as houseboys to fund their studies. Recognition of their work relied on their mastery of English, both for American publication and for their eventual recuperation within the Asian American movement, whose activist artists were second-generation immigrants who developed their American voices often at the expense of their parents' languages. This article considers four key moments and approaches in Asian American poetry—modernism, activism, mainstream, and avant-garde—through readings of influential and emblematic poems.

Keywords: Asian American poets; modern poetry; immigrants laborers; foreign students

Article.  9026 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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