WASHINGTON (April 6, 2012) — An unprecedented convergence of Asian American literature and visual art will present seven writers reading and discussing their work, commissioned in response to ‘Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter,’ the first major exhibit of Asian American visual artists at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium.
Writers including David Henry Hwang, Playwright (California); Garrett Hongo, Poet and Author (Hawai’i); Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Author (Rhode Island); Marianne Villanueva, Author (California); Kazim Ali, Poet and Author (Ohio); Bao Phi, Poet (Minnesota); and Anna Kazumi Stahl, Author (Argentina) are to attend the event Saturday, April 14 with tours, readings, panels, and book-signings.
Event co-sponsors include the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, The Asian American Literary Review, and the Organization of Chinese Americans — Washington, D.C. chapter.
The Asian American Literary Review (AALR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt literary organization based in the District of Columbia. The AALR publishes a semi-annual literary journal, organizes and hosts literary events around the nation, and supports Asian American writers and audiences.
AALR is a space for all those who consider the designation “Asian American” a fruitful starting point for artistic vision and community. For more information:www.aalrmag.org
Bao Phi is a Minneapolis-based spoken word poet since 1991 and community activist. He is the author of the poetry collection Sông I Sing (Coffee House Press) and several poetry CDs, including Refugeography and The Nguyens EP.
A two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, Bao Phi has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry, and a poem of his appeared in the 2006 Best American Poetry anthology. His poems and essays are widely published in numerous publications including Screaming Monkeys and Spoken Word Revolution Redux. He has also released several CDs of his poetry, such as the recently sold-out Refugeography to his newest CD, The Nguyens EP.
He has performed in venues and schools across the country, from the Nuyorican Poets Café to the University of California, Berkeley. He was featured in the award-winning documentary feature film The Listening Project as an American listener who traveled the world to talk to every day people about global issues and politics. He also returned to acting in 2008 with a feature role in Theatre Mu’s production of Q & A.
In addition to his creative work, he was nominated for a Facing Race Ambassador award in recognition for his community work, and has published essays in topics from Asians in hip hop to Asian representation in video games. He maintains a popular blog for the Star Tribune’s website, which he uses to bring issues and alternative perspectives on Asian American community to light. Currently he continues to perform across the country, remains active as an Asian American community organizer, and works at the Loft, where he creates and operates programs for artists and audiences of color. He was the Coordinating Chair of the National APIA Spoken Word Poetry Summit, 2011.
His series, Equilibrium, recently won the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Anti-Racism Initiative Award.
David Henry Hwang, author of numerous plays, screenplays, musical scripts, and operas that include M. Butterfly. He is the winner of a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; FOB, winner of an Obie Award; Yellow Face, winner of an Obie Award; and most recently, Chinglish.
From 1994-2001 Hwang served by appointment on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and in 2012 he was honored with the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre Award and the Asia Society’s Cultural Achievement Award.
Garrett Hongo is the author of the poetry collections including Yellow Light, The River of Heaven (a Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets), and Coral Road, as well as the memoir Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’i.
Anna Kazumi Stahl is the author of the novel Flores de Un Solo Dia (Flowers for Just One Day). Born in the Southern U.S. to a Japanese mother and a father of German descent, she now lives and writes in Argentina.
Marie Myung-Ok Lee is the author of Somebody’s Daughter, co-founder and former Board President of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
Kazim Ali is the author of two books of poetry, The Far Mosque (winner of the Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award) and The Fortieth Day. He also has one book of translation, Water’s Footfall, by Sohrab Sepehri; the novel Quinn’s Passage; and the essay collections Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence and Fasting for Ramadan.
Marianne Villanueva is the author of the short story collections Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila and Mayor of the Roses: Stories and co-editor of the anthology Going Home to a Landscape.
Find out more at apa.si.edu/symposium.