ImmigrantPoetics: National Excess Theater, Atkinson Hall *SAT. 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

GeneTanta, Radu Dicher, Chris Tanasescu, Raluca Tanasescu, Larissa (Lars) Heinrich

This reading event will challengeattendees and participants to move back and forth between the usualpoetry-world binaries of form and identity.

Radu Dicher studied Physics (BA) and Comparative European Studies (MA) atBabes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, then moved to Budapest for anMA in History at Central European University.

Gene Tanta (Unusual Woods: BlazeVOX, 2010) lives in Chicago from where hespreads the microbe of the identity crisis called poetry.

Chris Tanasescu is a Romanian poet, author of four poetry collections andrecipient of the International Library of Poetry Award (2001), and the RonaldGasparic Poetry Prize (1996) among other distinctions.

Raluca Tanasescu is a Romanian assistantprofessor of English at Tan Tao University (Vietnam) and a translator offiction and poetry from and into English, whose main research interest istravel writing and media.

Larissa(Lars) Heinrich teaches Chinese Literature and Culture Studies at UCSD, and hasjust completed a translation of an important experimental memoir by the Taiwaneseauthor Qiu Miaojin (1969-1995).

The program is now up and availableto download on the website at

I hope my event will change someminds and hearts about the received categories through which we usuallyexperience poetry. Poetry experienced between formal innovation andbiographical politics invites its readers and listeners to live in thatuncomfortable liminal space by feeling empathy with and tolerance for theother. This reading event will challenge readers and participants to interactbetween the usual poetry-world binaries of form and identity. Out of thisdiscomfort, I hope empathy and tolerance grow since these practices have neverbeen more needed than now, which of course is forever in thefuture.

This poetry reading will offer avenue for immigrant poets (however defined) to read their poems and thenbriefly summarize what poetry means to their status as national excess. Usingtolerance as a shock tactic, I want to frame this occasion as a discussionabout both innovative form and about the everyday living that immigrants dobetween languages. On the one hand, my frame assumes that formalexperimentation in/with language does not take place outside of place, history,or the fabric of social interaction. On the other hand, this event will notserve as platform for unchallenged claims to sincere stereotypes and essences.By introducing each reader and allowing for a generous amount of time for discussionafter the readings, I plan to spotlight the space between formal innovation andbiographical politics. How do first-generation hyphenated Americans play withtheir use of the English language in light of their bifurcated identities? Howdo immigrant writers experiment with the English language? Do elements such assound, idioms, and habits of syntax differ for non-native Englishexperimenters? How might those differences be both aesthetical andpolitical?