Monday, November 8, 2010

Featuring Asian American Authors: Carlos Bulosan

Carlos Bulosan was born in Binalonan, Pangasinan, in northern Luzon in the Philippines in 1911. He came to the United States in 1930 just as California was restricting Chinese and Japanese immigration. Raised attending English language schools with American teachers Bulosan was fluent in English thus becoming one of the first Asian Americans to document his immigrant experience in the language that would allow for a wide audience.

Bulosan authored several important autobiographical works including The Laughter of My Father (1944) a collection of short stories set during the transition from Spanish to U.S. colonialism, and America is in the Heart (1946), in some respects his autobiography, but more broadly a narrative that incorporates the experiences of the Filipino immigrants in California and the Untied States. Bulosan's earliest publishing efforts were as a poet. In the early thirties he published in local Filipino papers, and then later started his own newspaper, The New Tide, a bimonthly radical literary magazine. This effort brought him into a wider circle of writers including William Saroyan, William Carlos Williams, Sonora Babb, and Richard Wright. His first two books of poetry were Letter from America (1942) and Chorus for America (1942). In all of his writing Bulosan brought the attention of the reader to the working class, the poor, the under represented and the marginalized.

Bulosan also worked as a union organizer and was implicated in the "red scare." He may have been a member of the  Communist Party and did write for some periodicals using the vocabulary of Marxism. Bulosan's manuscripts are still being discovered, edited and published.

For more information about Carlos Bulosan, visit Literature Resource Center including the full text   Asian American Writers. Ed. Deborah L. Madsen and part of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series. Or check out one of the books by Carlos Bulosan in Burling Library:

America is in the Heart: A Personal History
, 1946
Burling 3rd Floor PS3503.U5627 Z5

"The Story of a Letter" and "How My Stories Were Written," in Bold Words: A Century of Asian American Writing, 2001
Burling 3rd Floor PS508.A8 B65 2001

"Hymn to a Man Who Failed," Portraits with Cities Falling," and "The Romance of Magno Rubio" and more! in Brown River, White Ocean: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Philippine Literature in English, 1993.

Burling 3rd Floor PR9550.5 .B76 1993

The Cry and the Dedication, 1995
Burling 3rd Floor PR9550.9.B8 C79 1995

On Becoming Filipino: Selected Writings of Carlos Bulosan
, 1995
Burling 3rd Floor PR9550.9.B8 A6 1995

Submitted by R. Stuhr

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