Delve Fall 2019: From My Life I Write to You in Your Life: Asian American Women Writers & Memoir


Delve Fall 2019: From My Life I Write to You in Your Life: Asian American Women Writers & Memoir


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Wednesdays, October 2-23, 2019
6:30–8:30 p.m. (four sessions)
Guides: Jyothi Natarajan and Dao Strom

This seminar takes place at De-Canon Library at Milepost 5 Cafe/Gallery space (8155 NE Oregon St) in partnership with Apano.

In this seminar, we will look at Asian American women writers and memoir. Two seminal works of the late 20th century, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1976) and Meena Alexander’s Fault Lines (2003), have influenced how we read and perceive themes of multicultural inheritance, migration, memory, trauma and identity, while Yiyun Li’s more recent Dear Friend, from My Life, I Write to You in Your Life (2017) approaches the memoir rather as “anti-memoir” and “de-selfing”. Through these works we will engage with how diverse, multicultural (even within a single writer’s perspective), and impossible to generalize the “Asian American experience” truly is. Our consideration of the experiments in narrative technique that emerge in these works will also be reflective of that complexity.  This Delve seminar is committed to centering the voices of people of color, both in the texts we read as well as in the conversations we build together. 

Note: Participants should purchase the 2003 edition of Alexandar’s Fault Lines. It is out of print but copies are available online.

Before our first meeting, please read the first two chapters of The Woman Warrior. 

In advance of our third session, you may also get started reading from this selection of excerpts from Fault Lines:
*From Book I:
Dark Mirror
Kerala Childhood
Crossing Borders
Stone-Eating Girl
Transit Lounge
Real Places or How Sense Fragments: Thoughts on Ethnicity and the Writing of Poetry

*Read all of Book II


Jyothi Natarajan is an editor and writer. She is editorial director at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, an alternative arts organization dedicated to literature at the intersection of race, migration, and social justice, and editor of The Margins. Her writing has appeared in the anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors (Aunt Lute, 2016) as well as in The Caravan.

Dao Strom is the author/musician of two books of fiction and the hybrid-forms memoir We Were Meant to Be a Gentle People plus music album East/West. She is also the author of a bilingual poetry book You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else. Dao’s work has received support from RACC, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Precipice Fund, and the Creative Capital Foundation. She is the editor of diaCRITICS and co-founder of the collective She Who Has No Master(s).  

Delve Access Program
We want Delve seminars to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. We are happy to offer an Access Program which provides reduced tuition to qualifying participants. Our Access Program offers Delve seminar registrations at a sliding scale amount of $45-$75 per registration.Contact Susan Moore at if you would like to take a Delve at the Access Rate.