Tuesday, February 07, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Jasmine An

Jasmine An is a queer, third generation Chinese-American who comes from the Midwest. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, she has also lived in New York City and Chiang Mai, Thailand, studying poetry, urban development, and blacksmithing.

Coming from Ann Arbor area during the 1980s, I was very intrigued to see where she took her poetry, especially given her ties to the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

She feels her soulmate and forever muse is Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in numerous publications such as HEArt Online, Stirring, Heavy Feather Review and Southern Humanities Review .

After graduating from Kalamazoo College, she was awarded a writing residency at the Sundress Academy for the Arts in Tennessee where her most important jobs were feeding the chickens, giving treats to the sheep, emotional support to the donkey, and occasionally writing poems.

As of 2016, she lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand continuing her study of the Thai language and urban resiliency to climate change.

Keetje Kuipers  selected Jasmine An's manuscript, No-Name Woman for the 2015 Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize.

In her remarks, Kuipers said: "Fiercely sexual and frank, the speaker in Naming The No-Name Woman mythologizes her experiences as a Chinese-American woman, never flinching from the various overlapping identities she encounters. I am reminded of the fearlessness of Kimiko Hahn’s work, and am stirred anew by Jasmine An's resistance to any kind of shame that identity—chosen and unchosen—is eager to place on us. The speaker’s foil in these poems is the actress Wong Liu Tsong (Anna May Wong), “the open secret, the uninvited guest, the hand resting / in the small of my back.” Jasmine An does not so much make use of Wong in an effort to compare and contrast, but instead, she joins with her, blending voices and giving new and roaring life to that long and still unfolding story of race, gender, and sexuality in our country."

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