Asian American Voices in Poetry

A collection of poets and articles exploring Asian American culture
Illustration for Asian American Voices in Poetry.

Asian Americans have been contributing to U.S. literature for over a century, but their role did not gain recognition in mainstream culture or academia until the 1970s. Since then, over 50 Asian American studies programs, centers, and institutes have been established on university campuses, and organizations such as Kundiman and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, presses, and journals have helped to further cultivate Asian American poetry. As a result, Asian American writers may no longer feel compelled to write in particular traditional or protest modes or represent the external cultural labels pressed upon them. In her 2004 introduction to Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation, Victoria Chang writes, “new Asian American poets have captured the power of the past but have ventured into new territories and discovered, created, and revealed new voices and styles.”

The following poets in the US have emerged out of a broad range of Eastern and Western influences. Many are first- to fourth-generation Asian American poets whose heritages (part or whole) originate from South or East or West Asia. Some were born in the U.S., and others are expatriates or poets-in-exile. They all help to broaden our understanding of contemporary American poetry.

This collection is intended to introduce new readers to Asian American poets and to help those who are interested in learning more about these poets and their poetry. It is an ongoing project to make visible the vastness and variety of U.S. literary culture and to expand our notions of human experience in our time.

Please contact us if you wish to make suggestions for additions to this sampler, or if you are listed here and wish to be removed. 

The editors would like to thank Kundiman, and our advisors Monica Youn, Raza Ali Hasan, and Ravi Shankar for their help in compiling this selection, and to those readers who write in to help us improve this feature. (Last updated February 2017.)

POETS (in alphabetical order):