• Expansive Hybridity: Multilingual and Visual Poetics in Contemporary Experimental Asian American and Pacific Islander Poetry

      Osman, Jena; Lee, Sue-Im, 1969-; Goldblatt, Eli; Park, Josephine Nock-Hee, 1971- (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      Although the term hybrid has gained much traction in literary analyses of contemporary experimental poetry, there is a notable divide within scholarly discourse wherein its uses pertain to either form or content. The term has been used by literary critics and anthologists to categorize works of poetry that combine formal techniques and practices from opposing traditions of literary history, but within cultural, postcolonial, and Asian American studies, it has served as an important term that designates sites of resistance within cross-cultural contexts of uneven power dynamics. This discrepancy in uses of the term hybrid serves as the basis for my critical investigation of experimental poetry by Cathy Park Hong, Craig Santos Perez, Don Mee Choi, and Monica Ong. This dissertation presents an interdisciplinary reassessment of the concept of hybridity that applies it to both formal experimentation and cultural content by examining the innovative ways in which Asian American and Pacific Islander poets use hybrid forms to represent hybrid identities and the particular social, political, and colonial contexts within which they emerge. While the term in relation to ethnic American poetry has primarily pertained to multilingual features, my study widens the scope of hybridity to not only include verbal expression but also visual forms of representation (such as photographs, illustrations, and digital renderings of images). How do these poets grapple with both text and image as a means of communicating across and confronting different types of boundaries (such as linguistic, national, cultural, racial, and ideological)? How do they utilize the page as a textual-visual space to not only represent hybrid identity but also to critique their social and political milieu? I address these inquiries by exploring the ways in which Hong, Perez, Choi, and Ong enact formal hybridity to challenge multilingualism as cosmopolitan commodity, the colonial erasure of indigenous language and culture, hegemonic narratives of history, and representations of the racial Other. This dissertation argues that their poetry demonstrates an expansive hybridity in which multilingual and mixed-media practices serve as the very means by which they negotiate the fraught conditions of migration, colonization, geopolitics, and marginalization.