Cathy Park Hong: Minor Feelings W/ Ed Park
Where: Books Are Magic
225 Smith St.
718-246-2665 Price: Free
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How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition—if such a thing exists?
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.” As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these “minor feelings” occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality—when you believe the lies you’re told about your own racial identity.
With sly humor and a poet’s searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.
Cathy Park Hong is the author of three poetry collections including Dance Dance Revolution, chosen by Adrienne Rich for the Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Engine Empire. Hong is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems have been published in Poetry, The New York Times, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor of The New Republic and full professor at the Rutgers University-Newark MFA program in poetry.
Ed Park is the author of the novel Personal Days (a finalist for the PEN Hemingway Award), a founding editor of The Believer, and a former editor at the Poetry Foundation. His writing has appeared most recently in Lapham’s Quarterly and on the Criterion website, and he is a graphic novel columnist for The New York Times Book Review.
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