kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora


Hello from Kaya Press!

Happiest Lunar New Year and Year of the Tiger! We are writing to let you know about Kaya’s relaunch of Throughlines, originally conceived of as a newsletter about educational resources and content related to Kaya titles and Asian diasporic literature more broadly.

Throughlines emerged from our desire to connect the Asian Pacific American literary community and APA scholars more closely. At several Association of Asian American Studies conferences, Managing Editor Neela Banerjee asked scholars what they needed to engage with newer APA and Asian diasporic writers, and they resoundingly answered that they wanted resources. With inspiration from our friends at the Asian American Literary Review and Kundiman, we set out to create a forum for educators and creators to come together and create useful tools that could help put newer APA literature in classrooms.

We originally conceived of the idea for Throughlines in 2018, and our inaugural issue (available here) included articles, interviews, syllabi, and booklists. Since then we’ve been racking our brains since then to figure out how to make this important work possible in a sustainable way given our limited resources and staff.

More recently, we have decided to revisit the idea of Throughlines by relaunching it as a resource page on our website, which is in the process of being redesigned and will launch in a few months. This resource section will feature a blog focused on teaching resources for Kaya titles, but also on Asian Pacific American and Asian diasporic literature more broadly. The goal is to make lesson planning simpler for educators, to provide students interested in our authors and titles with additional materials, and give APA and Asian diasporic authors a place to connect with educators directly as well.

Over the past year, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to work with some amazing interns around the creation of teaching guides for several of Kaya’s titles. These guides provide synopses, themes, quotes, and discussion questions, as well as brief interviews with our authors and links to recordings of readings and events.

Eventually, we hope to flesh out this new Throughlines resources page with content that will push beyond Kaya titles to take on other more general issues around the teaching of Asian diasporic literature. We also hope to include short reviews of APA books, syllabi, book lists and more.

We would also love to include contributions from all of you! 

If you have any comments, inquiries, or resources you would like to see from us, or if you are interested in contributing material for our future newsletters and upcoming blog, or if you’d like to see one of our teaching guides please let us know at neela@kaya.com. We will provide free Kaya swag for anyone who provides feedback to us on our teaching guides and helps us improve and understand more what educators need!

Book of the Other

In November of 2021, we released book of the other: small in comparison by Truong Tran—a provocative collection of poems, essays, and antipoems that resists the luxury of metaphor to write about Tran’s experience of being shut out, shut down and othered as a queer, working-class teacher, immigrant and refugee. book of the other is a powerful rebuttal to the idea that anti-Asian racism is a victimless crime, even under the guise of institutions and academia. As one of NPR’s Best Books of 2021 and recipient of praise from the San Francisco Chronicle, PEN America, Poets & Writers, and more, book of the other is bringing important discussions on race and privilege to readers everywhere, and we hope it can find a place in your classrooms this Spring as well.

We have a rich collection of resources to help you explore book of the other as a teaching tool, including interviews with Truong Tran and recorded events, where you can see Truong in conversation with other poets. We are proud to offer a full teaching guide for book of the other! You can find an excerpt from this guide below. Truong is also booking for 2022 if you would like to see him at your school. If you would like a desk copy of book of the other or have any more teaching resources you would like to see, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at neela@kaya.com.

An Excerpt from our Teaching Guide for book of the other

​​Theme: Institutional Racism

Truong Tran explores the effects of institutional racism as a professor of Creative Writing in higher education, along with documenting the hierarchies implicit in the position of an “adjunct” faculty member. As the son of Vietnamese refugees, Tran has a unique take on the English language and always questioned grammatical rules when learning the conventions of English. This experience allows him to hold his ground in educational settings that were not built for people of color like him. In writing about navigating his ‘otherness’ in these institutions, he expresses his resiliency against countless acts of racism, at the institutional and language level.

From book of the other: “everyday you write the same poem. you tell the same story. list the same facts you say this is the truth. these are the facts. still your truths are interpreted as lies. They do not call them outright lies. that would mean that they are lying. and so they claim their side of the story is not so easily defined. they say its nuanced and complicated. Like when they claimed they gave you an anonymous grant. an anonymous act of generosity. until one day years later they sent you an email to remind of the gratitude still owed in full. or when they rejected you yet again for a job you’ve been doing for over a decade. you are a lecturer in their house and therefore the working class in their house. Without saying you need to know your place in our house. they are saying this place by the table. standing by the table. this is your place. ” (22).
“somewhere in between the past and present somewhere in between the you and the i somewhere in between the immigrants tongue the American vernacular somewhere somehow someone will question the language.  the grammar of this text. somebody will query the use of tense. how do you lineate this past this present when this happened. when this happens when this is happening. even now.” (89).

Discussion Questions

What are some instances of institutional racism that Tran names?
What makes institutional racism different from more overt forms of racism? Is one more impactful or dangerous than the other?

Let us know if you would like a desk copy of book of the other, and we’ll send you the teaching guide and other resources as well! Truong Tran is available for classroom visits this Spring! Contact us at neela@kaya.com for more info!

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