Gary Soto is a gentleman who has learned to write from experience. He spent his early life and brought up in the Mexican American areas of Fresno, California characterized by poverty. Strangely, he does not view himself as entirely a Chicano author. This has been captured from his various works. Through crisp, his true-to-life behaviors and clear imagery, he connects with readers of all eons and backgrounds.
He notes that “Even though I write a lot about life in the barrio, I am really writing about the feelings and experiences of most American kids.” From this, we can conclude that he considered himself as one of the most significant contemporary writers in the United States.
Soto prefers poetry than prose. From his works, we can deduce that he thinks like a poet and acts as a poet. His first collection of poems, The Elements of San Joaquin, earned him the United States Award of the International Poetry Forum in 1976 and was published in 1977. Later he was honored by the New York Times Book Review by reprinting six of the poems.
Also among the honors is the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the United States Award of the International Poetry Forum, The Nation/”Discovery” Prize, and the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award from Poetry magazine.
Janice Mirikitani: breaking tradition
Janice was born to Ted Mirikitani and Shigemi in Stockton, California. Her parents were farmers. In the world war 11, they were forced to relocate to Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas. Later they moved to Chicago. Her parents divorced and she was brought back to their chicken farm at Petaluma, California with her mother. Janice Mirikitani later became the casualty of sexual molestation up until she was sixteen years old. This greatly affected her and the pain of her incestuous abuse through her poetry can be seen in her poetry.
She has achieved universal recognition for her groundbreaking work to empower San Francisco’s marginalized and poor communities.
She attended UCLA, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. In her time in school, she struggled with her ethnic identity, which she later revealed in her poetry. Mirikitani has proved to be the second Poet Laureate in San Francisco chosen in 2000. She has over three books in poetry — Awake In The River; Shedding Silence; We, The Dangerous; and, Love Works
It is important to note that her poetry takes a range of literary forms: dramatic monologue and dialogue, lyric, satire, parody, depending on the subject.
“Where Is Beauty, Imelda?” caricatures Marcos Imelda
“Why Is Preparing Fish a Political Act?” shows her grandmothers reaction to captivity throughout World War II
“Loving from Vietnam to Zimbabwe” shades some literary light into the Vietnam War.
“Soul Food” reflects on her marriage to the Reverend Cecil Williams who was the African-American pastor of San Francisco’s Glide Church
“Shadow in Stone” defines her journey to Hiroshima
“Breaking Silence” integrates her mother’s testimony before the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Japanese Americans.
“A Lecherous Poem to Toshiro Mifune,” is a satire of the Japanese film actor
“Breaking Tradition” queries daughter and mother stereotypes
Comparison between the Asian American and the Chicana’s Authors
This usually includes writers from South Asia and East Asia and not West Asia. Sometimes, it denotes the Asian authors who have written about their experiences in America. Theoretically, it includes Hispanophone Asian writers as well. Their literature is written by Asian Americans, and generally about Asian Americans. This definition may pose some questions that are a current source of discussion for Asian American mythical or literary critics. For instance questions like:
Who is an Asian American?
Is “America” only the United States, or does it include the rest of the Americas?
The challenges that surround the process of defining Asian American literature are not exceptional to it and show difficulties not so copious with the field relating to the Asian American works, poetry, literature, etc but with issues of national identity, culture or race that are widespread to United States culture and history. (Wand)
Chicano literature: This is the literature transcribed by Mexican Americans who live or stay in the United States. Though its beginnings can be traced back to the early sixteenth century, the bulk of Chicano literature dates from after 1848, when the USA annexed large parts of what had been Mexico in the wake of the Mexican-American War. Today, it is a vibrant and diverse set of narratives, prompting (in the words of critics) “a new awareness of the historical and cultural independence of both southern and also the northern American hemispheres.” (Chin)
The Chicano literature is laced with frequent use of Spanish and it is so natural for them. They also incorporate lots of Catholicism & Indigenous religion. This comes in handy when giving examples or giving religious teachings to the readers. They are also dramatic, about responsibility and even betrayal. Another thing that characterizes the Chicano Literature is their discussions of the extended family in the literature. Most authors include their family’s experiences in their works.
Wood does not have a future. It saves all its marks and scratches. At twenty-four I assisted my old man sand his chair down to the grain. I acquired the assistance a belt-sander and the corners I took them by hand and touched every inch of that chair, in a quest of not burning it through. I made it clean in days and then started on clear-coating it. I could tally or rather compute my years on the chair’s surface as the slight histories of the many people who had sat on it faded away.
Chin, Frank. An Anthology of Asian American Writers. . Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1974.
Kim, Elaine. Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982.
Wand, David Hsin-fu, ed. Asian American Heritage: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry. New York: Pocket Books, 1974.