Thursday, January 10, 2008

he wanted to go to Vancouver

So I’m reading Premonitions: the Kaya anthology of new Asian North American poetry, right?, and yesterday I posted about the difficult relationship between the “mainstream” and the margin. Here’s another take, this time from a two part poem by Joy Kogawa. (I’m just going to reproduce the first part.)

Driving down the
highway from Revelstok –
the road built by
forced labour – all the
Nisei having no
choice etcetera etcetera
and mentioning this in
passing to this Englishman
who says when he
came to Canada from
England he wanted to
go to Vancouver too but
the quota for professors
was full so he was
forced to go to Toronto.


Nisei is the word for the children of Japanese immigrants. I like the way the speaker sounds a bit tired of the whole thing, “etcetera etcetera,” do I really have to repeat all this? she seems to say, “mentioning this in passing.”

Ah, yes, the humorous anecdote.

2 comments:

Nymeth said...

I loved Joy Kogawa's Obasan. I must try her poetry too. Thanks for sharing that poem.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

This was my first exposure to Kogawa.

Thanks for stopping by, nymeth.