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What We Experience

We share the untold stories of Asian-American experiences surrounding racism and societal pressures that are often overlooked in our communities. While we share similar experiences, all of our stories are unique. 

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ISSUE NO. 11: What We Experience - Mind & Spirit

MARCH 2023

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A List of Names I Wish To Join: Notable Chinese-American Poets

by Michelle Fung

When asked about my writing, I usually tell people that I was first introduced to poetry in third grade. Third grade included the American classics: Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman. Those are good poems, and I still sometimes quote the lines “But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep.”

That story is not technically true though. The actual first time I was introduced was years before third grade, when my mother had my sisters and me memorize ancient Chinese poetry. That was part of our Mandarin lessons, so for several years, I had the works of Li Bai, Wang Zhihuan, and Meng Haoran in my head. But I hadn’t realized then that I was reading poems, and I didn’t realize until quite some time after. This made the primary influence on my writing those mainstream American poets, whose work I enjoyed and back then, referred to as the highest standard. 

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