Waiting for Asian Canada: Fred Wah’s Transnational Aesthetics


Fred Wah's 1985 Waiting for Saskatchewan offers a snapshot of the emergence of an Asian Canadian aesthetic, providing a genealogy that positions Asian Canadian writing at the nexus of transnational flows from China, Japan, and the United States, while also emphasizing the cross-ethnic coalitions that give rise to the category of the Asian Canadian in the 1970s and 1980s. Waiting for Saskatchewan offers a complex constellation of Chinese content, Japanese forms, and U.S. aesthetic mediation that nonetheless takes as its “centre” a small Canadian prairie town. The forms of Waiting, from Olsonian projective poetics to the Japanese haibun, reveal Asian Canada as a process of transnational convergence, a dialogic space that is always being rewritten across national borders.

This article “Waiting for Asian Canada: Fred Wah’s Transnational Aesthetics” originally appeared in Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 227 (Winter 2015): 17-36.

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