Celebrate Ann Arbor Poets with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang and friends
We are honored to present three Asian-American poets in celebration of Frances Kai-Hwa Wang’s new book of essays. Enjoy a poetry filled hour in-store with readings and discussion. We are so excited to welcome them as one of our first in-person events in over two years.
About the Book
In the aftermath of a messy divorce, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang writes in the hope of beginning to build a new life with four children, bossy aunties, unreliable suitors, and an uncertain political landscape. The lyric essays in You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids deftly navigate the space between cultures and reflect on lessons learned from both Asian American elders and young multiracial children, punctuated by moments rich with cultural and linguistic nuance. In her prologue, Wang explains, Buddhists say that suffering comes from unsatisfied desire, so for years I tried to close the door to desire. I was so successful, I not only closed the door, I locked it, barred it, nailed it shut, then stacked a bunch of furniture in front of it. And now that door is open, wide open, and all my insides are spilling out.
Full of current events of the day and #HashtagsOfTheMoment, the topics in the collection are wide ranging, including cooking food to show love, surviving Chinese School, being an underpaid lecturer, defending against yellow dildos, navigating immigration issues, finding love in a time of elections, crying with children separated from their parents at the border, charting the landscape of frugal/hoarder elders during the pandemic, witnessing COVID-inspired anti-Asian American violence while reflecting on the death of Vincent Chin, teaching her sixteen-year-old son to drive after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, and trusting the power of writing herself into existence. Within these lyric essays, some of which are accompanied by artwork and art installations, Wang finds the courage and hope to speak out for herself and for an entire generation of Asian American women.
A notable work in the landscape of Asian American literature as well as Midwest and Michigan-based literature, You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids features a clear and powerful voice that brings all people together in these political and pandemic times.
Order your copy here:
About the Author(s):
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a poet, artist, essayist, and activist focused on issues of Asian America, race, justice, and the arts. Her writing has appeared at PBS NewsHour, NBCAsianAmerica, PRI GlobalNation, Cha Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, Drunken Boat. She teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at University of Michigan and creative writing at Washtenaw Community College. She co-created a multimedia artwork for Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. She is a 2019 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit artist. Her book of poetry, “You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids,” is just out at Wayne State University Press. Franceskaihwawang.com @fkwang
Books: You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids,” Wayne State University Press; and contributor to Rise (Harper Collins 2021)
CARLINA DUAN is a writer-educator from Ann Arbor, and the author of the poetry collections I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) and Alien Miss (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2021). She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the University of Michigan's Joint Program in English and Education. Among many things, she loves river walks, snail mail, and being a sister.
Books: I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) and Alien Miss (University of Wisconsin Press, 2021). I will be reading from Alien Miss.
ZILKA JOSEPH moved to the US from Kolkata, India in 1997, and Michigan has been her home since 2000. This is where she reconnected with writing poetry, and began publishing books. She is working on a new manuscript, and a set of poems based on the Vedas that will accompany an Indian classical dance performance. Her website is www.zilkajoseph.com and She’s available on Facebook. Books: In Our Beautiful Bones (Mayapple Press, 2021), Sparrows and Dust (Ridgeway Press, 2021), Sharp Blue Search of Flame (Wayne State Univ Press), Lands I Live In ( Mayapple Press)