Final Exam Review Sheet

Exam Day is Friday, March 25

For this exam you will interpret poems in terms of themes developed during this class. During this class we have spent a significant amount of time discussing, thinking about and acting on the following themes:

  1. Silence and speaking out.
  2. Visibility and invisibility, reality and stereotypes.
  3. Valuing the cultures and experiences of Asian peoples both past and present.
  4. Struggling for a better life for ourselves, our families and our communities.

During this exam you will develop a framework for analyzing four out of the following five poems:

  1. Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, "Making Guacamole" (reader pages 3-5)
  2. Janice Mirikitani, "Breaking Silence" (reader pages 55-57)
  3. Jeff Tagami, "Without Names" (reader pages 81-2)
  4. le thi diem thuy, "in praise of my ba, #1 vietnamese buddhist gangster" (reader pages 191-2)
  5. Ishle Park, "Sa-I-Gu" (copied below; a recording of Park reciting the poem is here)

To review for the exam you should read each of the poems and you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. When was the poem written?
  2. Where and in what medium was the poem published?
  3. What group or groups of people does the poem represent? What does the poem say about one or more significant experiences for the people it represents?
  4. What is one detail from the poem that really brings to life the historical experience of the people it represents?
  5. How does the poem connect to the themes from the class listed above?

Answers to these questions should provide you with a framework for future research. Remember differences along lines of socioeconomic class, gender, sexuality and mixed heritages.

Like the mid-term the final exam will be open book, open note, open class and open Google. The exam should take you no more than one hour to complete.



By Ishle Yi Park

koreans mark disaster

with numbers.

April 29, 1992.

fire. if I touch

the screen my fingers

will singe or sing.

we watch grainy reels of a black

man flopping on concrete

arched, kicked, and nightsticked,

rodney king.

here I rub my own tender

wrists, ask my mother unanswerable questions -

why are the cops doing this?

my mother will answer simply, and

wisely, because those cops are bad.

of the looters, because they are mad.

But why hurt us - she chokes

Because, Ishle, we live close enough.

While l.a.p.d. ring beverly hills like a moat,

They won't answer rings from south central

furious and consistent as rain.

where did they hide, our women -

under what oil-stained=

chevy did they breathe life?

who pulled them

by hair into riot

for a crime

they did not commit -

who watched and did nothing?

the mile high cameras hover,

they zoom in, dub it:

war of blacks & koreans

then watch us rip

each other to red tendons for scraps

in the city that they abandoned,

a silence white as white silence

and we have no jesse

no martin no malcolm

no al, no eloquent, rapid tongue

just fathers, with thick-tongues

and children, too young to carry more

than straw broomstick and hefty bag.

all the women cry

and they hurl what is not already shattered.

but two mornings later, 1

they march over ashes

dust licking their proud ankles

30,000 koreans

sing in a language that

most will never master

a tribute song

to those who came before

and those who will march after

we shall overcome


Copied from culture critique, Cultural Studies Departement: School of the Humanities, Claremont Graduate University. March 20, 2011.

1See the account by Paul Kim about the peace march following the LA uprising, reader page 176.

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