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.
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 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.
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.