To live in the American South requires finding a way to understand oneself against a history of structural racial violence: to conceptualize oneself, implicitly or explicitly, in relation to the powerful black/white narrative of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and Civil Rights. In this formally hybrid panel—half poetry reading, half critical dialogue, Kundiman poets will speak to questions of what it could mean to be Asian American in the South. We will read poems that address Southern geographies—cultural, emotional, economic, ecological, visual—in order to offer visions toward a fuller and more nuanced understanding of Southern racial terrain. Speaking from a multiplicity of Asian American subject positions, we will explore possibilities for connection with the heterogeneous communities of color living in the South—examining, for example, Asian American relationships to settler colonialism and indigenous rights as well as to questions of Latin American migration and border politics. In reaching across the critical/creative divide, this panel formally echoes the complicated and innovative work of boundary-crossing that Asian Americans must undertake in order to write ourselves into the Southern story.
Featuring Vidhu Aggarwal, Kimberly Alidio, Ching-In Chen, and Tiana Nobile.
Part of the New Orleans Poetry Festival.