"The history of English is inextricably tied to the history of war, to the history of empire; they cannot be separated. And hence our literature cannot be separated from these histories. Language is one of the most powerful weapons of war. It is also one of the war's first victims."
Although the field of literary publishing is still primarily populated by white editors and publishers, there are some POC-owned and directed publishers and a number of new and well-established poetry book prizes that are judged by respected POC authors and which seek to champion work of writers from particular communities of color. If you're a POC poet with a book manuscript in need of a home, here's a list of upcoming contests you might want to try
Over the past week and a half, we've been gathering images of POC writers and their libraries, as well as asking readers and writers of color to contribute their thoughts on the importance of building a personal library and how books by other POC writers have impacted their lives.
This post showcases responses from and glimpses into the libraries of Kazim Ali, Francisco Aragón, Jackson Bliss, Genève Chao, Shu-Ling Chua, Oliver de la Paz, M. Evelina Galang, Nathania Gilson, Jenna Le, Gemma Mahadeo, Meera (@ashmeera101), and Brian W. Parker.
It's hard to explain exactly why having a personal library is so valuable -- and why it is particularly valuable to a person of color (writer or reader) to build a library for oneself. Here are a few ways of thinking about the value and purpose of a personal library -- and what it can enable in ourselves.
As we explore the topic of alternate routes of mentorship for writers, we will also offer here from time to time announcements and profiles of writer-mentors and their workshop offerings. Below is an announcement of a cyber-workshop being offered by award-winning poet Hoa Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam and currently resides in Canada.
Here, De-Canon speaks to Anna Vo, musician, artist, zine-maker and publisher, and community organizer of IntersectFest, a festival from artists of color, which is in its third year of programming and takes place this year from December 8-10, at Ford Food & Drink and other locations around Portland.
1) In a few words, what is IntersectFest?
... It is an effort to center the narratives of people of color in Portland, and exhibit the work of artists of color from Portland and elsewhere. It is a refusal to submit to a narrative of whiteness being centered in Portland. ...
A couple years ago, I went to see a reading at Powell’s bookstore on Hawthorne, in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. The reading was for the debut novel of an acquaintance and colleague I’d been in shared circles with for years through an organization called Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN). I also was a contributing writer to an arts and culture blog this novelist had founded.
At Powell’s that night, myself and the friend I’d invited were the only Asian people in attendance and there were not more than fifteen people total in the audience. The novelist, a university professor specializing in topics having to do with cinema and the Vietnam War, showed a montage of clips from famous American movies depicting the Vietnam era, then went on to critique the dehumanizing representation of Vietnamese (and other Asians) in such movies. The scene he read from his novel satirically depicted said dynamics. It was discomfiting, a little, to witness this presentation being given in front of a small crowd of mostly white people, but I was glad to see it being done. ...
Poet and editor Phillip B. Williams answers 4 questions from Shayla Lawson in this recent interview conducted for De-Canon. This is the first of a new series of guest interviews and posts we will be featuring on this blog.
Our August exhibit at UNA Gallery featured 334 books by writers of color, 270 of which were purchased for the collection or donated by authors or presses, and the remaining 64 were loaned to the collection for the exhibit by Dao Strom, Neil Aitken, and another local writer. The following list is not intended to be final or exhaustive, but instead to offer a snapshot as to where we are -- and hopefully inspire others to try some new titles or revisit old favorites. We will continue to add to our archive and will provide updated lists in the new year.