In the preface of Thinking Its Presence, Dorothy Wang wrote that poetry written by poets of color is a “testing of beliefs.” Their work (in itself) is in contrast to established belief systems and ideas about what the work of the “minority poet” should look like, feel like, sound like, etc. This idea of testing beliefs is what I see as inherently “experimental” about works by writers of color. It’s the idea that they are always creating something that, no matter how formal/experimental/new it is, is imagined to be something else/or has once been imagined to be something else. What that else is varies: from journals to academia to publishing to the audience. Yet, even while the scope of perception is far and wide, these expectations are an inescapable lens. It is a violent body that imposes itself on the work and on the poet. However, these constraints are often what incite some of the most imaginative, open, and freeing work. It is a journey to get out of that body.
Thinking of how the work of writers of color often gets mistranslated in a sense (but can be actively re-imagined) and thinking of the imaginary translation that we talked about in the beginning of last class, I collected a lot of terms and phrases from our discussion that day in an interesting/weird way. So, I wrote a poem. You can read it here.