“Because before my body took its place in the phenotypic parade (my appearance as South Asian), before my name took its place in the bureaucratic queue (citizenship documents, passports, visas), before I was called a darkie in grad-school, before I came to identify as an illiterate Tamilian, I first claimed an Anglophone “I.” That lean and inky bridge from self to self, from inchoate cry to speech, from subject to object (and back) is built at the recitative scene in a decolonizing India. ”
An essay on bilingualism, mother-tongues, postcolonial relation to documentary poetics, and learning to decolonize illiteracy (as identity). With nods to the work of Hugo Garcia Manriquez, Moez Surani, Solmaz Sharif, M. NourbeSe Philip, with illustrations by the intuitive Karin Aue. Published by The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, this is an expanded approach to the text first delivered as the 2018 Annual Rachel Blau DuPlessis Lecture in Poetics at Temple University.