For this cut up, I pulled couplets from the Winter 2004-2005 issue of Ploughshares. Although there were a number of excellent poems in the issue, I did find it particularly challenging to find lines that fit together well -there seemed to be a lot poems that employed the past tense, relied heavily on dialogue, or tackled subject matter and images that really weren’t meshing with my first few chosen couplets. I did have two other couplets I really liked, but ended up dropping them due to differences in tense or tone.
This cut up poem is based on couplets from the 2013 Triple Issue of South Dakota Review. For this one, I choose to use exclusively couplets from writers of color who appear in this issue. Ironically, one of the contributors in that issue is Yi-Fen Chou, the pseudonym of Michael Derrick Hudson, who regularly posed as a Chinese American writer in order (in his mind) to have a better chance of getting published. He revealed his ruse once one of his poems was accepted and published in a volume of Best American Poetry — a scandal which led to a very important discussion about identity, race, stereotypes, and representation in literary publishing.