Author: Jason Bayani
Published Date: April 15, 2019
Life in a multicultural, multiethnic nation like the United States leads to complicated, sometimes fragmented experiences of our background and identity. In Locus, Jason Bayani's poetry explores the experience of identity that haunts Pilipinx-Americans in the wake of the 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act, a critical moment left out of most histories of Asian-American life in the United States. Bayani's poetry seeks to recuperate this silenced experience, rendering the loss of memory migration entails and representing the fragments of cultural history that surface in a new national context. Drawing inspiration from the mixing and layering of musical fragments in DJ culture, Locus lays down tracks of memory to create a confident declaration of a distinctly Pilipinx-American voice, history, and artistic power. Indeed, his work reveals how these new creations often tie us to the most fundamental parts of ourselves: our families, our cultures, the vague memories passed down through generations.
In Locus, Bayani both renders the challenges of migration and captures an experience of selfhood and history, asserting a central place for migrant identity and experience in American culture.