Fil-Am poet sets on ‘recolonizing’ the US through his poems
- an interview with Nick Carbó:
YCB: In Secret Asian Man, you almost take a gun to your white American reader’s head and force him to read a non-white American name over and over again with "Ang Tunay na Lalaki". Was there any reason behind that action?
NC: This is purely a postcolonial technique. From 1898 through 1945 (and even to today) Filipinos were forced to memorize poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, or Edgar Allan Poe. So we all rose and recited in unison "Under a spreading chestnut tree/ the village smithy stands." Outside the school window all we could see were santol trees or mango trees. "Saan ba yung chestnut tree?" The American cultural markers were thrust upon us and we had to assimilate to get a good education. By making my American readers twist their mouths into tagalog shapes, I am asserting my culture over them and thus, making them a little more Filipino. I am re-colonizing the former colonizer with my poems.