Slanted Allusions: Marilyn Chin and Russell C. Leong

  • King-Kok Cheung


SLANTED ALLUSIONS charts how Marilyn Chin and Russell Leong deploy Chinese allusions to defy Chinese and American social mores. Disagreeing with scholars who consider Chinese references in Asian American literature inescapably Orientalist and with critics who advocate a wholesale reclamation of an Asian tradition, I track how these two poets retool indigenous expressions to convey two-way critiques. Chin turns a Tang poem into a feminist parable and transmutes traditional sites of female confinement into a creative room of one’s own. Leong spins a homophobic slur into a transnational term of compassion and turns an exotic proverb inscribed in the Huntington Library's Chinese garden into a testimonial about the exploitation of transpacific migrant laborers. The two poets reprise the wen-wu dyad—fighting through writing.


Eating Disorder Sexual Minority Migrant Laborer Steamed Bread Ancestral Worship 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • King-Kok Cheung
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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