Asian Women United, paper, 208 pages
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How This Book Came About
To create InvAsian,
Asian Women United in 1999 called for submissions from youth groups,
schools, community centers and ethnic study departments. AWU culled the
best from among the 500 poems, essays, drawings, photos and recordings
it received, then held study group sessions on selected pieces with 50
girls across the United States, and finally sought additional works from
specific writers to compliment the collection. The study groups helped
an Asian Women United editorial committee select the final inclusions — 66
stories and poems by 55 young women, a prolific new generation of writers
Excerpts from the poetry in InvAsian:
My sexuality will
no longer smile demurely.
It will not fit itself into a sarong.
It will not be contained in a long
It will not don a kimono nor paint its lips red.
It will never say, “Me
love you long time, sailor.”
— Cookie Hiponia, “My Sexuality”
I used to be
A thousand paper squares,
Ordinary and plain,
Gold, silver, red, and purple.
Now I am
A thousand folded cranes,
Floating through the air.
— Kelly Emiko Iwanabe, “I Used to
Excerpts from the stories:
“Mama,” I started. “I have to tell you something
but you must promise not to get angry”. . . .
“What are you talking about?” I
could tell from her voice that she was
already irritated. “Hurry Lien,
I still have a lot of work to do.”
“I was molested Mama. Last
— Mary-Jocelyn A. Ortega, “Flashback”
During those hot
Bengal afternoons while my uncle was at work and my cousins, who were older,
were still at school, my mother and my aunt sat under the slow-whirring
ceiling fan. They drank iced lassi and
ate fragrant supari and sighed over the past, that magic time
when all things had seemed possible. They left me to my own devices.
I liked that, too.
— Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, “The Princess
in the Palace of Snakes”
About Asian Women United
Asian Women United, founded in
1976, is a nonprofit organization that publishes books and produces videos
that explore Asian American women’s
varied cultural heritages and provide positive role models for girls
and young women