New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

By Alpana Sharma Knippling | Go to book overview

singular ironies is its reflection upon the exilic experiences of the manongs who worked as migrant laborers. Tagami is keenly aware of the relationship between Filipino laborers in the United States and their peasant counterparts in the Philippines. Memory is at issue here--the importance of remembering a history that can actually be traced on the land itself, on the riverbanks, the roads, the remnants of farmworkers' bunkhouses, and in the apple orchards gone to seed. Thus, the working manongs are haunted by the memory of their families at home in the islands, to whom they cannot return. Decades later, the offspring of those farmworkers are, in turn, haunted by the ghost of Fermin Tobera, a Filipino laborer who was murdered in his bed during the race riots of the 1930s. But Tobera's haunting is not only that of a wasted life and lost potential; it is also a haunting of rage that lies beneath the surface history of Filipino Americans.

Although many of Tagami's poems are elegiac and even bitter in tone, a few express an almost unexpected happiness: remembering a moment when, leaning against a car and drinking a beer, Tagami felt happy "just to have come from someplace" (33-34) or when, standing high up in a tree picking apples with his mother, he felt the impulse to sing. Family, as portrayed in Tagami's poems, is both a source of grief and happiness, a way of articulating the abuses that a history of oppressive working conditions (linked to the history of colonialism in the Philippines) has wrought upon family members and a way of voicing hope and love. In October Light, Tagami insistently invokes the passage of time, the revision of history, and the influence of place. Through the memories of the people who work the land and remember its stories, the poet questions the dehistoricization and displacement imposed by the monolithic narratives of settlement and incorporation in the United States.


CONCLUSION

Filipino American literature is a literary tradition imbued with "histories." By "histories," we refer to the literary-historical ties between Filipino American writing and Filipino literatures, as well as the insistence of revisionary histories of both "local" resistance in the United States and neocolonial resistance in the Philippines. Villa, Santos, and Gonzalez began their literary careers in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States as students. They continued to publish their writings in the Philippines while they lived in the United States, since very few publishers would accept writings by ethnic writers at the time. As such, the pioneering generation of Filipino American writers finds itself included in the canon of another "world literature": Filipino literature. Bulosan came to America to work as a "national." During his years as a political activist, he returned to his native land through memory and imagination. In his writings, Bulosan examines neocolonial history by constructing the homeland and legacies left by American colonization and linking them with the experiences of Filipino farm laborers.

Having come through an era in which historical and political contexts have

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New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Works Cited xix
  • I - Asian-American Literatures 1
  • 1 - Arab-American Literature 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • Notes 15
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 16
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 17
  • 2 - Armenian-American Literature Khachig Tololyan 19
  • Conclusion 37
  • Notes 39
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 40
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 41
  • 3 - Chinese-American Literature 43
  • Introduction 43
  • Notes 62
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 62
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 63
  • 4 - Filipino American Literature Nerissa Balce-Cortes and Jean Vengua Gier 67
  • Conclusion 84
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 86
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 87
  • 5 - Indian-American Literature 91
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 105
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 107
  • 6 - Iranian-American Literature Nasrin Rahimieh 109
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 122
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 123
  • 7 - Japanese-American Literature Benzi Zhang 125
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 140
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 141
  • 8 - Korean-American Literature 143
  • Conclusion 151
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 152
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 154
  • 9 - Pakistani-American Literature Sunil Sharma 159
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 164
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 167
  • II - Caribbean-American Literatures 169
  • 10 - Anglophone Caribbean-American Literature 171
  • 11 - Cuban-American Literature 187
  • Conclusion 203
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 204
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 205
  • 12 - Dominican-American Literature 207
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 216
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 218
  • 13 - Puerto Rican-American Literature Carrie Tirado Bramen 221
  • Conclusion 234
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 234
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 237
  • III - European-American Literatures 241
  • 14 - Finnish-American Literature 243
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 251
  • 15 - Greek-American Literature 253
  • Conclusion 259
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 259
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 261
  • 16 - Irish-American Literature 265
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 276
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 279
  • 17 - Italian/American Literature 281
  • Conclusion 287
  • Notes 290
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 291
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 292
  • 18 - Jewish-American Literature 295
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 305
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 307
  • 19 - Sephardic Jewish-American Literature 309
  • Introduction 309
  • Conclusion 313
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 314
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 316
  • 20 - Polish-American Literature 319
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 326
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 327
  • 21 - Slovak-American and Czech-American Literature 329
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 337
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 338
  • IV Mexican-American Literatures 339
  • 22 - Mexican-American Literature Ada Savin 341
  • Conclusion 357
  • Notes 359
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 360
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 362
  • Selected Bibliography 367
  • Index 371
  • About the Contributors 383
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