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(in)visibility

I love, love, LOVE this interview with Sally Wen Mao by Jenny Xie ♡♡


Jenny Xie: Reading Oculus, I was arrested by the poems’ treatment of what it means to be embodied—especially what it means to inhabit a racialized and feminine body—and the brutal constraints of being caught in someone else’s line of sight. These poems meditate strikingly on the burdens of being beheld, of existing as spectacle and fetish object, and of having one’s life unfold publicly. At the same time, Oculus takes up the historical invisibility and muteness of the Asian American body, along with the paucity of visual narratives afforded to it. Can you speak a little to the tension between the spectrums of visibility in the book? Sally Wen Mao: You describe it perfectly—in the American context, the racialized feminine Asian body is both a spectacle and an absence, coveted and reviled at the same time. The duality of this has always interested me: Asian women’s bodies, and marginalized bodies in general, have always…

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