word for/word
issue 6: summer 2004
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Geneva Chao





Notes on process/poetics:

This poem sequence is a rare foray into the ugly world of identity politics and media representation, which I normally eschew. The poems, each dedicated to a prominent media figure/image, are overlaid on the background of a words taken from an essay exploring the nature of visual communication ('source text' by Paul Martin Lester, http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/lester/writings/viscomtheory.html). The goal of "chinese box" is both to explicate and to mimic stereotypical images of a particular group (in this case, Asian Americans) by employing the principles of visual communication in their own criticism; thus, the source text appears L-R and up-down as one would read Chinese, and the poem intersects with it; the whole contained, of course, in eponymic structures that are themselves polyvalent.




Chinese Box
                    for Catherine Cafferty and Gedde Watanabe














Geneva Chao is a poet and translator and has work in A Very Small Dog, Boxkite, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Diagram, 5_trope, Aught, and Transfer. She teaches in San Francisco.

               /    o
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