This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, the poetry section is pleased to feature the work of four extraordinary Asian American writers in collaboration with Undocupoets. Below you will find a table of contents with links to each piece.
— Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Poetry Editor
Though immigrants from Asia or who are of Asian descent are the fastest-growing population of undocumented people living in the United States, we remain overwhelmingly invisible in immigration discourse. Our visibility, no doubt, would further trouble the “model minority” stereotype — a label that is already harmful enough for its flattening of Asian Americans into a single, gleaming group. In the false construction of an Asian American monolith, our individual and cultural differences are as much erased as our distinct immigration stories, circumstances and statuses.
This folio of new poems, by recipients of the Undocupoets Fellowship, an annual grant awarded to poets who are currently or who were formerly undocumented, is a document against the erasure of our personhood — our experiences and their aftermaths — from immigration, Asian American and American narratives. Poets laurel c., Frankie Concepcion, Jan-Henry Gray and Anni Liu write into the vulnerable space — visibility — that Audre Lorde asserts “is the source of our greatest strength.” What they make visible are the protective silences, exiles and returns from exile, and wavering familial ties that make survival possible. What they make visible are also the pleasures, sensual and gastronomic, syntactic and figurative.
The Undocupoets organization is committed to promoting the work of poets who are currently or who were formerly undocumented and raising consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community. We believe in supporting all poets, regardless of immigration status. To learn more about the Undocupoets Fellowship and our additional Fellows, please visit us here.
—Janine Joseph and Esther Lin, Undocupoets Co-Organizers