- Poetry and Prose
Committee Members: Monica Chiu, Nora Okja Keller
American Kundiman by Patrick Rosal (poetry)
Buffalo Boy and Geronimo by James Janko (prose)
For the Association for Asian American Studies 2006 Poetry Award, the committee has selected American Kundiman by Patrick Rosal. Rosal's collection addresses both personal and political subject matter with a sense of confidence, passion, and sensuality. There are love poems here, family poems about the speaker's relationship with his father, as well as political poems dealing with prejudice. [End Page 233] Rosal's poems are rhythmically vibrant and electric, hearkening to hip-hop roots or beat poets like Ginsberg. The lack of punctuation throughout the collection evokes a sense of continuous out-of-breath movement often characteristic of performance poetry. One committee member summarizes by pointing to Rosal's talent for "making anger beautiful."
For the Association for Asian American Studies 2006 Prose Award, the committee has selected Buffalo Boy and Geronimo by James Janko. One committee member states: "Janko's book takes a familiar theme, the Vietnam War, and makes it refreshing by telling a war story through compassion for animals." But not only is Janko's subject matter presented in a refreshing way, but also the narrative moves in unexpected ways. Janko's narrative has two strands—one of a young boy and another of a medic—that move back and forth, closer and closer towards each other as the violence increases. What the committee members appreciate most is how Janko doesn't present easy answers or obvious endings.