By Peter B. High
A survey of the English prose, poetry and drama of the us from Colonial instances to the1980s.
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PSL How do you feel about the label Asian American writer/playwright? What kind of audience do you have in mind when you write? Do you feel a split between mainstream and ethnic audiences? KKC I just said that all life is political. To call oneself an Asian American writer means that the writer wants to be identified as such because of his or her politics. My ethnic heritage and background makes me an Asian American writer, but my material is not always Asian American. Being Asian American is just part of what I am.
See, I don’t buy into the notion that we can read and appreciate only our own people’s work. That’s why sometimes I feel that, while labels like Asian American literature may serve to identify a certain kind of immigrant narrative, in a way they can hinder us. I’m not real comfortable with the term Asian American writer. But sometimes labels are necessary as marketing tools. If you were to choose a label for yourself and your writing, what would it be? EPL I wouldn’t. I’m a writer. But I can’t deny my gender and my ethnic identity, either.
K K C There are few Asian (American) characters in your plays except in Mother Tongue, Points of Departure, Homerica, and Figures in Clay. Is that because Asian American topics are too close to home? If the material calls for the characters to be Asian, then they are. Because I am living in the heartland of white America, where I have few contacts with other Asians, especially in the arts, I don’t find myself thinking about Asian or Asian American themes as frequently as I might if, for example, I were living in Hawai‘i or California.