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State of Play: Poets of East & Southeast Asian Heritage in Conversation

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How do we think of ourselves as poets? How does our race, our home(s), and our cultural heritage, shape our sense of belonging, our ways of seeing or experiencing the world? How can we learn from and offer support to each other? State of Play brings together conversations between an international line-up of poets, taking place over the course of a year, to offer rich insights into these questions and the ways a life lived in many places can invigorate one’s writing. With themes ranging from the sense of home and racialised expectations, to community and language, as well as the process of writing poetry, these creative discussions delve into the complexities and diversity of identity in the days of global citizenship and cultural diaspora.

‘Multiple yet singular, the conversations here reveal the complexities of poetic language as a space of becoming rather than being, of identities sharply focusing under the weight of plurality, the forces of migration and the long tethers of home and empire. This book makes a critical intervention in the shaping of diasporic writing, turns us away from the outworn frameworks to demand bolder and more imaginative ways of reading. Let these conversations begin urgent ones elsewhere about how language is made and how it remakes us as global subjects speaking together.’ —Prof. Sandeep Parmar, Professor of English Literature, University of Liverpool and Founder of Ledbury Critics of Colour.

‘State of Play reminds us of the global reach of English-language poetry and poetics, whose production is not limited to the predominantly white Anglophone countries of the so-called West and reminds us of the ongoing legacies of British colonialism underlying even such seemingly neutral concepts as home, everyday life, and poetics.’ —Prof. Dorothy Wang, author of Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry & convenor/co-founder of Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK (RAPAPUK)

‘Giving voice to a diverse and multi-generational choir of distinctive voices, this anthology offers rare and intimate insights into the creative challenges of writing poetry now and the vital importance of dialogue as a free space for the play of ideas and critical thinking.’ —Prof. Susheila Nasta, Founder of Wasafiri, Magazine of International Contemporary Writing

‘State of Play draws together a sparky and inspiring array of conversations between East and Southeast Asian poets situated across continents and borders. The different interactions are characterised by their commitment to exchange and reciprocity even where the poets meet for the first time only through the medium of these conversations. Editors Jennifer Wong and Eddie Tay have done a superb job of bringing together a rich spectrum of topics including nomadism, childhood, diaspora, race, belonging, the question of what it is to be creative, and all-important issues of language-choice and self-translation. I wager that no reader interested in poetry will not find excitement in this vibrant anthology.’ —Prof. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford

Out-Spoken Press



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