Stepping Out of The Cultural Identity: A Critical Analysis of Cathy Song’s Memory Poetry
Keywords:memory, poetry, cultural identity, imagery
Cathy Song, a Chinese-Korean ancestry woman poet, grew up in Hawaii, America. In “What Belongs to You”, a poem taken from her second poetry publication, she chronicles the memory of a child who is trapped between her dream and devotion. The theme of the poem is portrayed in a strong poetic devices. The poems lean in vivid visual imageries to evoke to the poet’s life memory. The speaker of What Belongs to You dreams of having the freedom and attempts to escape from her parental tie. Ironically, she finds herself devote to her family and tradition. The poems use past materials ranging from domestic domain and landscape which define the speaker’s personal memory. Comparing than Cathy’s Song first poetry publication, arguably, the cultural materials in the poem cannot be traced through Song’s poetic devices as an ethnic woman poet. In fact, song locates the dream and devotion in visual imageries and nostalgic tones in a general way. This is true; Song has denied herself as a cultural visionary. Song merely mines the memory from the point of view and identity of a woman, leaving her cultural traits behind.
Hetherington, Paul. The Past Ahead: Understanding Memory in contemporary Poetry. International Journal for the practice and Theory of Creative Writing. Vol 9, No 1(2012): 102-115.
Cullum, Linda. The Poets : Cathy Song . Contemporary American Ethnic Poets : Lives, Works, Sources Westport, Conn : Greenwood Press. 2004.
Fujita-Sato, Gayle K. ‘Third World’ as Place and Paradigm in Cathy Song’s Picture Bride.” MELUS 15 (1988): 49–72.
Sherley, L. Picture Bride by Cathy Song: Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, Varieties of Ethnic Criticism (Autumn, 1983), pp. 95-99.
Allan. Burns, Thematic Guide to American Poetry, Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Bloom Harold in Zhou Xiaojing, “Breaking From Tradition: Experimental Poems by Four Contemporary Asian American Women Poets”. Revista Canaria de Estudio Ingleses, No 37, page 199-218, 1998.
Song, Cathy, Frameless Windows, Squares of Light, New York: W.W. Norton, 1988.
Song, Cathy, Picture Bride, Yale : Yake University Press. 1983.
F. Chen, Body and Female Subjectivity in Cathy Song’s picture Bride, Woman ‘s Studies 33:577-612 (2004): 577-612.