asian American Speculative poetry
edited by Bryan Thao Worra
Introduction to Issue 7
Welcome to the seventh issue of Eye to the Telescope!
This month is the last month of the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese and Vietnamese traditions, so it seemed fitting to issue a call for Asian American speculative poems. Over recent years we’ve seen some fascinating books of speculative poetry coming from the Asian American community, such as Cathy Park Hong’s Dance Dance Revolution, Shangxing Wang’s Mad Science In Imperial City, or works that have strong speculative poems within them, such as Lee Ann Roripaugh’s Year of the Snake or Burlee Vang’s The Dead I Know.
When we issued the call, I asked for the guidelines to be fairly broad, noting “Contributors or poem elements should have some connection to Asian America.” I was particularly interested in “multicultural, multilingual work that brings forward emerging voices, especially from perspectives often underrepresented in existing literature.” But at the end of the day, I wanted this to be experimental and see who would be drawn to such a call.
This issue contains the work of both established and emerging voices from across the country. We have poets who have roots in Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines; Hapa and Hmong voices. Several are transcultural adoptees, others have been immigrants or are the children of refugees. But in the final equation, each of them brought a distinctive voice and imaginative approach to their poetry. Some worked with the classic legends of old, others addressed futures that could be; others, well, that’s a surprise you’ll have to see for yourself.