Wednesday, March 28, 2007


There's been a lot going on lately, precisely the stuff I like to blog. The paradox of time... when there's something to say, there's no time to say it.

Refracting Pacific Canada dense and interesting. Highlights-- Shu-Mei Shih's preconference colloquium on the end of diaspora, an interesting talk by Moon-Ho Jung on the relationship between the end of slavery and the beginning of anti-Asiatic exclusion acts in the Americas. And of course the reading I organized with David Chariandy, Garry Morse, Rita Wong and Phinder Dulai. Caught a little bit of Solitudes and Globalization, organized by Fine Arts at UBC that same weekend. Great talk by Monika Kin Gagnon on a film of her late father, Charles Gagnon. Some odd responses to a remarkable performance/talk on aboriginality, representation, trauma, violence and specific/local experience by Marcia Crosby. She repeated the performace this weekend in Regina at an amazing and provocative symposium called TransPOSE organized by the Sakewewak collective this past weekend. I played conference respondent. Holy active listening. More on that one shortly, I hope. One of the most inspiring events I've attended in awhile.

In between, a reading with me and Maged Zaher at KSW. Read my Ham suite for the first time. It's about the chimpanzee, also known as Chop Chop Chang, whom NASA sent into space in the Mercury Redstone missions of the 60s. They were testing what human bodies might be able to withstand.

If you're in Toronto tomorrow, I'm reading at 7pm at York University, and would love to see you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

technique tectonic

Sina Queyras and Daphne Marlatt are reading at the Kootenay School of Writing this Saturday, March 17 at Spartacus Books, 319 West Hastings, at 7:30 pm.
Lots of good KSW stuff coming up the next bit. Christine Stewart is doing a talk the next day about Vico, excess and Lisa Robertson's Debbie: an Epic.
Christine, myself and three really great grad students, Brooke Houglum, Travis Mason, and Meliz Ergin are trying to start a new reading series at UBC. After much brainstorming we dubbed it "Play Chthonics." A whole roster of interesting readers lined up for the fall and winter of next year. Now all we need is for funding to fall into place.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

feed your head

A couple of good conferences at UBC this weekend:

Refracting Pacific Canada: New Directions in Race, Citizenship and Migration

SOLITUDES and GLOBALIZATION: Post-World War II Art and Culture Across the Americas

Don't forget to come to the reading for Refracting Pacific Canada. It's at the UBC Asian Centre at 7:30 on Thursday, May 15. Featured writers: Rita Wong, David Chariandy, Garry Morse and Phinder Dulai

shining hopeful people

Lots of discussion at Serial Accomodations this weekend about the problem of writing diasporic Asian women's experience, and about the placement, circulation and understanding of that work inside institutions. No escape from language, or from master narratives. There is still feeling and meaning-- in text or in excess of it? Are feeling and meaning desirable things? It was great to reconnect with old friends and colleagues (especially Kirsten McAllister, Shani Mootoo and Mridula Chakraborty) and meet new ones (especially J. S. Jayasree and Medha Samarasinghe). I was also really happy to see some activist friends in the audience-- Benita Bunjun and Dorothy Christianson in particular. Benita gave me a flyer for Realities of Race Week at UBC: Wow, wish there had been something like that when I was an undergrad here. I'm going to do my best to make it to the Saturday night reading and fundraiser for Vancouver Status of Women.

Today I heard Vandana Shiva speak at the Chan Centre. Rita showed me Biopiracy almost a decade ago, and now that I think about it, alot of the impulse for Salt Fish Girl comes from our discussions about that book. So it was really great to hear VS speak today about food democracy, seed freedom and the evils of Monsanto and the WTO! Scott has been teaching a course about food at Concordia, and Monika has been writing about gardens. I like seeing how so many of the folks who were do work around race and racialization a decade ago are extending their practices into thinking about earth, sustainability, the interconnection of life forms.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Re-engaging Race

OK. I've done it. I've re-entered the zone of Writing Thru Race and have been writing thru race... again. It was the big gap in my dissertation, avoided largely because of a certain horror I felt about re-engaging what I experienced in 1994 as a very abject moment. Abject, but important-- in some ways a key moment in the community work that gave birth to many incredible, liberatory works of art, literary or otherwise. I'm going to give this paper at Serial Accomodations: Diasporic Asian Women's Writing, a symposium at UBC that Sneja Gunew is organizing to coincide with International Women's Day. If you're interested, please come. I'd especially like to see people who were involved in cultural organizing the the 90s, and even more especially, people who were on the original organizing committee of WTR. Kirsten McAllister and Medha Samarasinghe are speaking on the same panel. It happens at 2:30 on March 10th in the Choi Building at UBC. I'll be doing a literary reading afterwards-- probably some new poetry and may be a bit from Salt Fish Girl, as I think it's being studied up there right now.

In other news, I've organized a reading for the conference Refracting Pacific Canada, which commemorates the 1907 Vancouver Riots, the 1947 Citizenship Act, the 1967 Immigration Act and the 1997 "return" of Hong Kong to China. Readers featured: Rita Wong, Garry Morse, David Chariandy and Phinder Dulai. That's at the Asian Centre Atrium at UBC, 7:30, Thursday, March 15.

On Friday March 23 at the Kootenay School of Writing/Spartacus Books, I'm reading new poetry with Maged Zaher, a poet from San Francisco. Check out some of his work on Exquisite Corpse:

On March 24, I'm off to Regina to act as a respondent for a very cool symposium called transPOSE, that brings together artists, curators, academics, and theorists from both Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities talking about histories of oppression, community and coalition building, art production and non-western canons.

Then to Toronto on March 29 for a reading at York University.

Things are getting busy! There will be some talks in Europe in April, but I'll tell you about those in another post.

It'd be great to see you at whatever you can make it to!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

pix miami to montreal

Sunday, March 04, 2007

good water, crappy air kafkanada

stranded in montreal. it'll have taken 3 days to get back to vancouver from miami, courtesy of our national airline. flight pass? don't believe the hype. the seat is more important than the body that fills it.
still, great to see monika and scott, and a very grown-up and beautiful olivia.
and had a fab time in miami with rita, walter and ashok. cuban roasted pork, pwason neg, south beach, lincoln ave art studios, snorkelling the reef at key largo, kayaking mangroves, fruit and spice park, mojitos in coconut grove. good class visit at u miami, talking about politics and poetry. sunlight and palm trees, lots and lots, to warm the vancouver damp and dark out of my heart.
one thing about spending a whole heck of a lot of time at the airport-- i get work done. diss to book pretty much there, and i think sybil unrest, the collaborative pome with rita is in the bag. prepped my paper for sneja gunew's conference on asian canadian women at ubc next week, and am organizing a reading for chris lee and the conference "refracting pacific canada" for later this month. also looks like i'll be in germany and spain later in april for a few talks and readings. cool. burning up all cash i was paid for my archive though. have i mentioned that? sfu special collections is collecting my papers. i feel real.