Aion 1.2 Anti-war protest1 2019-07-11T12:20:23-04:00 Amardeep Singh c185e79df2fca428277052b90841c4aba30044e1 165 1 Photo from Aion 1.2 Showing Asian American young people engaged in protest plain 2019-07-11T12:20:23-04:00 Amardeep Singh c185e79df2fca428277052b90841c4aba30044e1
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Aion 1.2 (1971)
Aion 1.2 (1971)
The second and final issue of Aion was dedicated to Francis Naohiko Oka, a poet who had worked as a co-editor on the first issue of the magazine. He died in a motorcycle accident after the first issue had been printed. Several of his poems are printed in this issue.
The issue also has poetry by Al Robles (a prominent Filipino American poet), Janice Mirikitani (the editor of Aion, who would go on to be a distinguished poet herself), Serafin Malay Syquia (another important Filipino poet), and a suite of poems by Lawson Inada. In 1971, Inada had a breakthrough when he published his book of poetry, Before the War, with a mainstream publisher (Morrow & Co.). The issue also has short stories by Toshio Mori, Jeffrey Chan (who would go on to co-edit Aiiieeeee! with Frank Chin and others), and S. Tagatec.
The issue includes an extensive photo essay from Vietnam as well as clippings from Ho Chi Minh -- part of a general mode of intense anti-war feeling that animated the Asian American movement in the early 1970s. I haven't annotated that more directly propagandistic anti-war material, focusing instead here on the literary works, poems and short stories, that were contributing to an emerging Asian American literary scene.
Highlights of this issue include:
- "I span the ages / of my 24 years" by Francis Oka.
- "Shades drawn tight / I creep around my room listening" by Francis Oka
- "Home" by Francis Oka (12/10/69)
- "America / I could have loved you" by Francis Oka
- "Reagan Poem" by Francis Oka (City Lights 3/16/69)
- "Sometimes, even the President of the United States..." by Francis Oka (City Lights 12/14/68)
- "He is dying..." by George Leong
- "On the President's Cambodian Press Conference" by Foo Gwah
- "Tansaku" by Janice Mirikitani
- "The Time is Now" by Janice Mirikitani
- "The Silent Minority" by Serafin (Serafin Malay Syquia)
- "Soon the white snow / will melt..." by Al Robles
- "Red's Place" by George Leong"
- "From Our Album" (Poem series) by Lawson Fusao Inada. Republished from Before the War (1971)
- "Sunrise" by Alan Lau
- "Homecoming" by Toshio Mori. Set during World War II. The story of a Japanese immigrant whose son enlists in the Army during World War II. After the war ends, he and his wife go to visit him in a military hospital in rural California, braving racism along the way.
- "Tomato Boxes" by S. Tagatec. A San Francisco street scene involving what appears to be two elderly white men cursing at the prostitutes that work in their neighborhood as well as a young man who they identify as a "queer."
- "Aunt Tsia Lies Dying" by Jeffrey Chan. A short story that reads almost like memoir. The narrator recalls his Aunt, a longtime San Francisco Chinatown resident, who had earlier been the proprietor of a tropical fish store -- the kind of place that sells goldfish to tourists. There's a strong interest in bridging the generational gap here -- between the generation that lived through World War II and the younger, activist generation with different priorities. (This story would be reprinted in the anthology Asian-American Authors )