Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 4 | Winter 2012
“Materials” was written for the first Science Studies creative writing workshop held at the University of Santa Cruz, organized by my friend Feminist Science Studies scholar Martha Kenney. As a doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies and New Media Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, my interests include the intersections of science, technology and race. Our assignment included the opportunity to workshop a creative writing piece inspired by our scholarship. I was thrilled at the possibly to combine, intersect, interweave theoretical questions I had, with poetry/poetic form. At the time, I was reading quite intensely Aram Saroyan's collection of minimalist poetry from Ugly Ducking Press. At the same time, I was working with Hsuan Hsu and Martha Lincoln’s co-authored article, while engaging with an online HASTAC Scholars forum (an amazing virtual new media collective) on Bodies + Body Worlds. I was concerned about the ethics of the exhibition and the elision of issues of race and transnationalism in discussing Bodies + Body Worlds. When the opportunity to participate in the Science Studies creative writing workshop arrived, I wrote “Materials” as an experiment, delving into the questions (personal, political, intellectual) I had around the topic. The ending result was the final version of “Materials.” The center column includes all of my own voice + writing. The left column contains excerpts from the HASTAC forum, and the right column has my responses to the HASTAC forum, with excerpts from Hsuan and Lincoln's co-authored article.
—Margaret Rhee, 2012