AIISF is happy to reprint a blog entry from Lantern Review by Mia Ayumi Malhotra, who is a MFA candidate at the University of Washington. She is the associate editor of Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry. Mia's work explores the intersections of family,history, and cultural memory.
By Mia Ayumi Malhotra
Last May, the Lantern Review Blog featured the Angel Island poems in our APIA Heritage Month “Poetry in History” series. In the post, Iris explains:
Often called the “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island served as the site for processing as many as 175,000 Chinese immigrants from 1910-1940.
Detainees were separated by gender [and ethnicity!] and locked up in crowded barracks while they awaited questioning, for weeks or months — sometimes, for years — at a time. To pass the time, many immigrants wrote or carved poems into the soft wood of the barrack walls.