An Interview with Paisley Rekdal

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-24 21:31Z by Steven

An Interview with Paisley Rekdal

Kenyan Review

Ruben Quesada

Paisley Rekdal is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of West: A Translation, as well as the community web projects Mapping Literary Utah and Mapping Salt Lake City. In May 2017, she was named Utah’s Poet Laureate and received a 2019 Academy of American Poets’ Poets Laureate Fellowship. Appropriate: A Provocation, which examines cultural appropriation, was published from W.W. Norton in Feb. 2021.

Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes (2009, 2013), Narrative’s Poetry Prize, the AWP Creative Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019), and on National Public Radio, among others.

RUBEN QUESADA: What is the earliest memory you have about your relationship to literature?

PAISLEY REKDAL: I recall when I felt I understood something about literature that other people didn’t. It was in fifth grade, when we were discussing Lord of the Flies, and the teacher asked who the self-sacrificial character Piggy might also remind us of. Piggy was meant to stand in for Jesus and I remember muttering that in class while the rest of the students looked a little baffled. I understood then that works of literature were often telling multiple stories at once; this multiplicity of meaning seemed to irritate other people, though it didn’t irritate me…

Read the entire interview here.

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Learning Your Own Name

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-24 15:49Z by Steven

Learning Your Own Name

The Gay & Lesbian Review

Ren Iris

The author in fourth grade, holding a basketball trophy

IF GENDER had a tagline, it would be “Gender: Paradoxes Abound.” Every day, we make countless assumptions based on gender expectations and societal norms. Sex assigned at birth and gender are often conflated and/or repurposed to fit institutional check-the-box guidelines. Gender—the abstraction, the perceived reality—is a chimera. Like most other words acting as a placeholder for an abstract concept, it is ever shifting and always context-dependent, even if it’s relegated to a box to be checked on a form.

We’ve gotten less restrictive lately, thanks to activists and antidiscrimination policies, and thanks also to the dissemination of intersectional training, often featuring educational resources such as the “gender unicorn” or “gender bread” person. But even with all that knowledge, we must constantly unlearn the restrictive, prescriptive understandings of gender. And in real time, during present interactions, referring to a gender-inclusive cheat sheet before responding is usually a thankless endeavor…

Read the entire article here.

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