Saturday, July 07, 2012

Reading Interweaving

Reading Aloud: I don't know why, but sometimes reading aloud is the only way that I can read.  I started reading David Mura's Angels for the Burning, and I couldn't get into it.  I think I was at Starbucks, though, and maybe Starbucks is just not the place to read Mura.  I ended up going home and starting to read his words aloud, and bam, suddenly he was speaking to me, and I could hear him.  I especially enjoyed "Suite for Miss Saigon," which mentions protesting the musical and details some difficult conversations with white friends about why; Mura strikes me as very passionate and brave.

Ginsberg, Reyes, and Murakami: Timothy Yu's Race and the Avant-Garde is a particularly exciting read for me--so far, in surprising ways.  While the introduction gave me new ways to think about Asian America (as more of a political idea than a cultural fact) and the avant-garde in relation to myself as an Asian American poet, chapter one delves into Allen Ginsberg's revision process and has shown me--surprisingly enough--how much it resembles my own.  Yu discusses how much of Ginsberg's work is rooted in a negotiation between private and public/political; many of his revisions remove or alter personal elements to create more room for the reader to insert her/himself.  Yu also discusses Ginsberg's use of mystical elements and myth, which seems to overlap with my reading of Barbara Jane Reyes's Diwata.  The two cannot really be compared since their projects are so different, but I can't help but see a connection simply since I'm reading these at the same time.  I've only begun to read Diwata, but it is reminding me of Woman Warrior with its weaving of myth, family history, and autobiography to create a seamless tapestry.  

Myth also reigns in Haruki Murakami's 1Q84; I'm almost done with the first book right now.  I think magical realism is usually associated with Latin American authors, but I always think of that term when I read Murakami.  He only has a few mystical elements in play at the point where I'm reading now, but it is enough to add significant depth and intrigue to keep the reader occupied on many levels.  

Reading these three books at once, I cannot help but think of my own experiences with the mystical and mythic.  Not being a very religious person nor someone who reads a lot of historical texts or folklore, I have my own strange contemporary ideas of where myth comes into play in my life and will soon enter into my poetry.