Asian American Literary Review: On and After September 11

September 6, 2011

This week, Hyphen launches a series of posts in reflection on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, coordinated by our online editor Robin Lapid. The series will include personal essays as well as editorials. We’ll also tell you about other publications and organizations nationally, whose work and events we want to make sure you don’t miss.

So let’s get started.

The Asian American Literary Review hasn’t been around for long. But like Athena, this publication arrived full-grown. With good academic bones and some excellent literary lineage, the review has in its first year produced two polished issues and a thoughtful series of events. In their pages (and accompanying DVDs), you’ll find recent work by writers you’ve been reading since college, along with writers we’ll no doubt be teaching next.

AALR’s third is a special issue for the anniversary of 9/11 -- a “critical consideration of the moment and its aftermath” in both public magnitude and private terms. Law, policy, lives and loss: guest editors Rajini Srikanth and Parag Khandhar assemble a commemoration parallel to those that will be broadcast this week. The writers, artists, activists and scholars who contribute to the collection ask who and what else the nation has lost, of ourselves and in our battles with the Homeland Securing state since that day.

“Before September 11th became 9/11,” Anousha Cheddie begins, in an early poem,

It was Par’s birthday.

It was primary day.

It was a day.

Before WTC became a rune bound by “freedom” and “democracy” …

Many of the pieces are beautifully written, but most of all, the collection is powerful because of its collective honesty. Much more than polemics, these are words that cost something to surrender.

The AALR will also be launching a series of talks at universities around the country in the coming months, around or inspired by this issue. Get the issue here (it’s going in the mail now), and keep an eye on this blog for news on the events as they come up, via the Hyphenite’s Social Calendar and/or our fb/twitter feeds.



erin K Ninh

contributing editor & blogger

erin Khue Ninh is a former blog editor and onetime publisher of Hyphen, who won't seem to go away. She now teaches literature in the Department of Asian American Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Aside from Hyphen, erin believes in recycling, Planned Parenthood, and Type A first-borns.