Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn
b. 1949

JESSICA TARAHATA HAGEDORN was born in 1949 in Manila, the Philippines, during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, and she emigrated with her family to San Francisco in 1960. As a poet, novelist, playwright, performance artist, and musician, Hagedorn experiments in form and medium to express the conflicts experienced by Asian immigrants caught between cultures. Like her contemporary, Linda Ty-Casper, Hagedorn speaks against the class inequity and corrupt politics pervading Filipino society; she also takes aim at racism in the United States and develops in her dramas the themes of displacement and the search for belonging.

Hagedorn did not attend college but entered the theater arts training program at the American Conservatory Theatre, where she studied music, acting, martial arts, fencing, and mime. When she was 23, poet Kenneth Rexroth recognized her literary talent and included her poetry in a collection called Four Young Women. Also in the early 1970s, Hagedorn founded the West Coast Gangster Choir, an artrock band whose performances featured interludes written by the artist. By 1980, she had moved to New York with her daughter and published two collections of poems and short fiction, Dangerous Music and Petfood and Other Tropical Apparitions. In 1988, Hagedorn's dance‐ theater piece "A Nun's Story" was broadcast on public television's Alive from Off Center. The radio drama "Holy Food" was produced in 1989 by WNYC and broadcast nationally. Dogeaters, her highly praised novel about urban Manila in the 1970s, was nominated for the 1990 National Book Award.

Hagedorn's oeuvre represents a range of achievement. Humor and wit integrated with a view of the graphic underside of urban life— drug use, physical abuse, murder, ghetto life—characterize her vibrant, at times vitriolic, and uniquely rhythmic poetry, prose, and performance pieces. She remains active in New York theater, where she performs original works like acclaimed multimedia piece " Mango Tango." Her latest novel, The Gangster of Love, was published in 1996.

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Asian American Women Writers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Asian‐ American Women Writers *
  • Contents *
  • The Analysis of Women Writers xi
  • Introduction xv
  • Diana Chang B. 1934 1
  • Edith Maude Eaton 1865-1914 Winnifred Eaton 1875-1954 14
  • Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn B. 1949 28
  • Maxine Hong Kingston B. 1940 37
  • Joy Kogawa B. 1935 53
  • Bharati Mukherjee B. 1938 68
  • Amy Tan B. 1952 81
  • Linda Ty-Casper B. 1931 98
  • Jade Snow Wong B. 1919 110
  • Hisaye Yamamoto B. 1921 121
  • Wakako Yamauchi B. 1924 133
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