Posts Tagged: Jenny Zhang
There’s a tendency to take writers who write about race and shuffle them into a genre, into a predetermined conversation, whether they wanted to be there or not. But even if the constraints of the game are rigged, what Jenny Zhang, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Karan Mahajan have to say cuts through the BS pretty quickly:
It’s a real detriment to the quality of these spaces when they end up being dominated by white folks.
The new Best American Poetry anthology, edited by Sherman Alexie, contains a poem by the very white Michael Derrick Hudson who used the pen-name Yi-Fen Chou to get his poem into publication. Now, Asian American poets are pushing to get readers interested in actual Asian poets, in addition to decrying Hudson’s attempts to game the system:
[Author Jenny] Zhang revealed that when she was a graduate student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for fiction writing, her white classmates “never failed to remind me that I was more fortunate than they were at this particular juncture in American literature.” … Hudson, she wrote, wanted “what my cohorts at Iowa wanted too, to have the right to a name that gave them an ‘edge’ without having to endure racism, erasure, tokenization, self-devaluation, and the constant requests for free intellectual labour.”