Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida and the low-residency MFA program at City University in Hong Kong. For more information about him, please visit: www.sukrungruang.com.
Statement of Poetics
The Green We Speak, the newest poetry collection I’m currently working on, embodies what I seek to do in my poetry. It is a poetry collection that explores and interrogates the Thai immigrant experience in America through verse, a genre that allows for leaps in time and memory, the crafting and manipulation of metaphor, the dissection and examination of the language of the displaced. The speaker of the poems in this manuscript is an immigrant son, trying to find a sense of comfort, a sense of home in the states—Florida specifically—juxtaposed to his thoughts of what it means to remain faithful to a country eight thousand miles away.
As a minority poet, I seek to join the growing lexicon of Asian American literature, to widen the scope of this cannon because now immigrants who emigrated to America in the late 60’s and early 70’s are telling their stories, writers of the Thai, Cambodian, Hmong, and Laotian descent. One of my main goals is to open the dialogue of this “new” Asian American literature, to reconfigure and redefine immigrant narratives.Poetry, for me, is how I understand my place in this country as an artist and as a citizen. Poetry is how I understand culture, familial expectations, and the long umbilical connection to the homeland.
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