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|Title:||Troubling English: Reading Li-Young Lee’s Rose as Minor Literature|
|Authors:||Donna T. Tong|
|Abstract:||In Rose, Li-Young Lee employs a poetics that plays on and with language which Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s idea of a minor literature can help to illuminate. In particular, the poem “Persimmons” with its themes of family, memory, and language condenses various counter-hegemonic strategies. Lee’s poetics defamiliarizes English as a language, drawing attention to its constructedness and thereby exposing the inherently political interconnections of language teaching, language usage and racial hegemony. Lee defamiliarizes English in order to lay bare its senses of alienation and exile. Thus in “Persimmons” the poet shows us the precise linguistic and cultural processes through which persimmons are deterritorialized and reterritorialized. These tactics and concerns are broadly resonant with, and also critique, the ways in which Asians in America are imagined as Asian Americans; they provide us with a lens which focuses on this hybrid category qua category and refracts it. Here then I will analyze Lee’s poetry not only in terms of its mechanics and content but also as being broadly resonant with the ways in which Asians in America are imagined as Asian Americans, that is, as part of a racial order and the place of language in that matrix.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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