White Jealousy


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.”

Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at kellylynnthomas.com. More from this author →