Ezra Pound’s Imagism and the Angel Island Poets

H.M.A. Leow in JSTOR Daily:

Between 1910 and 1940, thousands of Chinese immigrants were detained—sometimes for months—in facilities on Angel Island, off the coast of San Francisco.

Stuck in immigration limbo, living under difficult conditions, some turned to poetry to express their despair, worry, and anger. And, by etching their words into the walls of the detention center, these early arrivals left a literal mark on America.

The Angel Island poems were rediscovered in 1970 and brought to public attention by advocates like Him Mark Lai and Judy Yung, who, with poet Genny Lim, compiled the collection Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910–1940. Lai’s research in California History reports more than 130 different poems, including pieces that were not recovered from the walls but had been copied and preserved by detainees.

More here.