Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context

By Elaine H. Kim | Go to book overview

7
Multiple Mirrors and Many Images New Directions in Asian American Literature

The Asian American population in the United States has grown and diversified in recent decades. Four generations of Japanese Americans are now scattered in cities and suburbs, mostly in Hawaii and California, while new immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia are making their homes in new and already established Asian American communities, adding new dimensions to the needs and interests of the already existing populations. Contemporary Asian American literature reflects increasingly diverse perspectives among the people of these changing groups. There has been a new confidence inspired by the increased use of freer forms and language since the 1960s and by Asian Americans' increased appreciation of cultural pluralism in American society, which has encouraged them to express their own personal experiences in literature and to see them as part of a larger cultural tradition.

Among many contemporary Asian American writers, there is a deliberate effort to make literature as accessible to as broad an audience as possible. Present-day Asian American writers are experimenting with colloquial language that expresses their unique sensibilities with combinations of genre forms that blend drama with poetry, prose with poetry, fiction with nonfiction, and literature with history. Music and dance as well as visual arts are being brought together with oral literature. Poetry presentations and dramatic readings in community forums have increased, as have theatre and dance workshops, and film groups have been experimenting with dramatizations of Asian American literature and docudramas, which are fictional portrayals of Asian American history. New publishing outlets are being sought by writers' collectives, and

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