I just taught out of this anthology this week for my Poets of Color course. I don't think it's the most useful, even if we are to focus on younger or "emerging" Asian American poets, because it's historically thin and lacking in ethnic and aesthetic diversity.

Regarding the alleged shift away from what the editor calls the "recognizable Asian American voice," I wonder more and more whether it's even important or desirable to do this. While I agree that younger poets are finding new ways of telling stories about family, culture, homeland, language, et al, I don't know that the voices included here are so radically different from the previous, "first generation" of poets such as Li-Young Lee. Even with the more "experimental" poets, such as Cathy Park Hong, the way she eroticizes the act of speech reminds me of Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha's acute attention to the the act of speaking, the numerous specific body parts and their corresponding actions (movements) involved in the act of speaking in DICTEE.

I appreciate Marilyn Chin's foreword to this volume, and her figurative passing of the torch to a younger generation of poets. I appreciate her assessment of Mong-Lan's use of page as canvas and line as brush stroke. I also appreciate Chin's frankness as she indicts herself for her "mega Chinese food" tropes in her own past writing. I agree with Timothy Yu's review of this anthology (this review appears in the Chicago Review), in that the best of the work included here is where the introspective lyric I is still very much rooted in the outside world, as is the case with Nick Carbo's "Ang Tunay na Lalaki" poems.

My preferred Asian American anthology for teaching is still Walter Lew's PREMONITIONS, which does not marginalize the "experimental," but I believe gives it proper recognition; this is important because, as one of my students pointed out, "experimental" poetics can be the most political given the interrogation of conventions of language and form which takes place during the poetic experiment. This interrogation is necessary if we consider how high the stakes are in our writing, into and against the current literary canon and its corresponding cultural and social values.