Between The Lines:
Asian American Women's Poetry

by
Yunah Hong & Meena Alexander

[June 13, 2003]
 

 

 

In her new one-hour documentary Between the Lines: Asian American Women's Poetry , Yunah Hong combines interviews with and readings by sixteen Asian American women poets to examine the complex convergence of experience, memory, and language behind the impulse to write. Encompassing a breathtaking diversity of histories, both public and personal, the sixteen poets include first, second, and third generation immigrants and racially mixed Americans of Asian descent from China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Hawaii, and Jamaica. They range in age, aesthetics, and background from Mitsuye Yamada to Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and from Chitra Divakaruni to let hi diem thuy to Staceyann Chin. Though sharing only the barest of outlines - that they are Asian American and female as well as poets - these women are joined by their passion for their writing. Between the Lines bring them together here, showing how they distill from the currents of their lives, the poetry that is their preoccupation and their work.

 

Structured around six basic areas of inquiry - Immigration, Language, Memory, Family, Spirituality, Reaching Out, and What It Means to Write - the documentary follows its subjects as they discuss the multiple circumstances that compelled them to write, from feminist theory to spiritual quests to the search for an American identity. Interviews with the poets are interspersed with significant moments in the history of Asian American women poets, archival footage, photographs, and more lyrical interpretations of the poetry rendered in both film and video. As such, Between the Lines is an exploration of the richly textured experiences that form the raw materials for art across generations and personal histories.

 

 

 

 


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