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A Transpacific Poetics

Lisa Samuels, author
Sawako Nakayasu, guest and feature editor

ISBN: 978-1-933959-32-0Cover art by Dagmar Dyck07 01 2017200pp$24

Edited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, with contributions from Don Mee Choi, Mel Rands, Jai Arun Ravine, Ya-Wen ho, Murray Edmond, Susan M. Schultz, Eileen Tabios, Craig Santos Perez, Corey Wakeling, Lehua Taitano, Stuart Cooke, Sean Labraydor y Manzano, Barbara Jane Reyes, and Myung Mi Kim.

A TransPacific Poetics is a collection of poetry, essays, and poetics committed to transcultural experimental witness in both hemispheres of the Pacific and Oceania. The works in ATPP re-map identity and locale in their modes of argumentation, resituated genres, and textual innovations.

Lisa Samuels

Lisa Samuels is a U.S.-born transnational poet, Lisa has also lived in Sweden, Israel/Palestine, Yemen, Malaysia, Spain, and since 2006 in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her recent books include experiments in memoir, Anti M (Chax 2013), and the novel, Tender Girl (Dusie 2015), and she also publishes critical essays and soundwork. In addition to collaborating with Sawako Nakayasu on A TransPacific Poetics, Lisa has worked with composers in the U.S., New Zealand, and France and with a U.S. director, WC Tank, who is making her poetry book Tomorrowland (Shearsman 2009) into a film.

Sawako Nakayasu

Sawako Nakayasu was born in Japan and has lived mostly in the US since the age of six. Her most recent books are The Ants (Les Figues Press, 2014), and Texture Notes (Letter Machine, 2010). Her recent translations include The Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika (Canarium Books, 2015), and Tatsumi Hijikata’s Costume en Face (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015). Other books include Hurry Home Honey (Burning Deck, 2009), and Mouth: Eats Color – Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals, which is a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. Her translation of Takashi Hiraide’s For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut (New Directions, 2008) received the 2009 Best Translated Book Award from Three Percent. She has received fellowships from the NEA and PEN, and her own work has been translated into Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Praise for A Transpacific Poetics

A Transpacific Poetics brings both the “trans-” and the “Pacific” back into a freshened and freed up para-scholarly poetics that goes on conjugating place, language, nation, form, and self into a strange new transcultural mix. The effect is that of opening up a multiplied belonging to contemporary Oceania that is at once creatural and ecological, defamiliarizing, wary, unsettled, far-flung, near. Mixing poetry and poetics, the works are activating, dismantling, criss-crossing transpacific spaces and local mores like balikbayan boxes via writings that cross border and boundaries into mongrel zones of sustained transpacific experiment. Herein, Hawai’i, Guam, the Philippines, Chile, Australia, Korea, Aotearoa, Thailand, Japan, and California are made to connect, fracture, decompose, multiply and undo prior or more settled national frames, enacting an uncanny “transpacific poetics” from Australasia into the Americas.

Susan Schultz’s “memory cards” shuffle places, wars, codes, as “liminal places take time”; Eileen Tabios plays haiku mongrelization games across languages and forms; Ya-Wen Ho’s concatenated, superimposed lists undo Taiwanese identity; Myung Mi Kim’s diasporic algebras of Korea/US history interface with Barbara Jane Reyes’s multilingual San Francisco of entangled diasporas coming and going; Santos Perez makes a “militarized ars poetica,” wherein fatal impacts (the military) meet oceanic compacts (the environment). The result is something that calls out for contemporary poetic and scholarly reckoning.

Rob Sean Wilson, Professor of Literature, Cultural Studies & Creative Writing at the University of California at Santa Cruz

A Transpacific Poetrics beautifully inscribes what the Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite would call 'tidalectics' by following multiple voice waves across the region and by capturing their registers in an astounding range of genres. A collection of poetry and prose that includes entries such as memory cards, lists and palimpsests, counting journals, scripts, the necropastoral, and critical essays, readers will follow the rhythms of translation and the transcultural, where wavescrashwavescrashwavescrash.

Elizabeth Deloughrey

Like the ancient Carolinian (Micronesian_ seafaring technique of etak, of “moving islands,” which permits employment, of finding one’s place, by dint of three moving reference islands (or reefs), A TransPacific Poetics triangulates the tensions between the routes of itinerant identities and their deep cultural rootedness to specific archipelagic homelands with what is referred to as the “tactiles” of “distributed centers.” The result or outcome is a collection of substantive and therefore compelling testimonies to how cultural depth is accomplished through purposive and considered geographic reach and vise versa, how cultural reach across one’s horizon can indicate the geographic depth of one’s ancestral homelands and traditions.

Vincente M. Diaz

Excerpt from A Transpacific Poetics

'North of the Equator' - Robyn Maree Pickens reviews A TransPacific Poetics in Jacket2