Thursday, December 29, 2005

One Year Anniversary

This blog on Asian-American poetry is a year old now. To celebrate its birthday, it is time for the author to do some soul-searching...Ok, just found it beneath a pile of pantoums! Seriously, though, I think that I may be more amazed than anyone that this blog has lasted a year. There are marriages that don't last a year. The blog has kept on trucking through the posts that I've liked and the (hopefully fewer) posts that have made me want to stick my head in the sand.

At this point, I have mixed feelings about this blog. Obviously, I derive some joy, or at least satisfaction, out of maintaining it. I'm not a masochist. I like thinking and talking about Asian-American poetry, and I certainly wasn't getting enough of it at the same time last year. The blog has given me an outlet to share my thoughts on Asian-American poetry with anyone who happens to come across it. That's been cool. And I'm grateful for all the people who have stopped by, read my thoughts, and/or commented on them. Thanks. It's nice to know that there are people out there interested in Asian-American poetry, that you're not some freak with an interest that no one shares.

On the other hand, this blog is clearly, how do you say?...different. This blog is not about me. To a certain extent, all blogs are not completely representative of the people behind them, but this one has been even more of an act of ventriloquism than your average blog. Unlike most other bloggers, I don't talk about my life, which makes it difficult to get to know me through this blog. There are no pictures of myself, my pets, or my house plants. There are no links to other blogs. There isn't really much of a developed personal identity here. Plus, I've experimented with different authorial voices, which doesn't help with trying to establish a more personal connection. That's not necessarily bad. The focus has primarily been on Asian-American poets and poetry. The main goal of this blog has been to draw attention to matters of interest involving Asian-American poetry, and I feel that I've been fairly successful in this respect.

But sometimes I've wanted an understanding that I know would be virtually impossible to get out of this blog. A personal understanding. It's virtually impossible with this blog, because I would have to reach out first, and it would be against the nature of this blog. I'd have to talk about myself and my life, which may or may not be interesting, but would definitely detract from the discussion on Asian-American poetry. I'd probably have to be less blunt, provocative, and critical. The critic, in particular, needs a certain level of detachment. I'm not exactly sure why I've kind of painted myself into this corner, because I do enjoy blogs that are about people and their personal thoughts and emotions, probably more than single-issue blogs on average. If I ever start another blog, it most likely won't be single-issue. I'd show my true personality, which is not reflected on this blog.

In certain respects, Roger Pao the blogger is so different from me that it's almost funny. It's almost 180 degrees from who I am, and I'm in on a joke that only the very few readers who know me in real life can possibly get. For starters, I hardly ever say anything bad about anyone. I'm nice to people. Also, I'm quiet and shy. In a crowded room, I don't attract attention. I don't share my opinions with strangers. I'm sensitive to other people's feelings, and I'm into patience and compromise. My sense of humor is usually one of the later things that people learn about me. I care about people and my friends, and my friendships usually last a long time, etc.

In a way, the blogger is kind of like the Wizard of Oz. Roger Pao the blogger definitely aspires to be the Oz of Asian-American poetry. The blogger wants his towering emerald green presence to cast a shadow over Dorothy, the Tin Man, and all the pauvre munchkins. I'm kind of jealous of the blogger, of the confidence, bravado, and swagger that I lack. The blogger is bolder, more out-there, less insecure.

But in some respects, I am also the blogger. The two are not irreconcilable. The voices on this blog are my own. And that's sort of scary! I mean, I think that the blogger is bold, but I wouldn't even know if I'd want to be classmates or co-workers with this blogger, let alone actually be him. Still, I have a certain personality, and even though I may deny its existence on this blog, its presence, I imagine, marks pretty much every post.

As many bloggers have considered with their respective blogs, I've considered putting the brakes on this blog and ending it altogether. After all, the blog does take up some time and energy that could be put to other uses. So I have thought about bringing it to a close...Well, I hate to break it to you people, but that's not going to happen any time soon! The Asian-American poetry blog shall continue. I've still got at least one major project up my sleeve, and I've still got more opinions to share about Asian-American poetry. So happy holidays to all, and I hope you'll come back for more in the days, weeks, and months ahead.


Blogger Geof Huth said...


Congratulations on your anniversary. (Your blog is almost exactly half the age of my blog--at this moment.)

I'm interested in your thoughts about your blog, since I can see your points and dispute them at the same time. You might have a less personal blog than most, but I've always perceived a personality coming through--because we usually create impressions of people we don't know through their words alone.

The funny thing, tho, is that my conception of your personality is much closer to what you say it actually is than what you say your blogger personality is. You are really quite kind even in your criticisms. (I'm sure my idea of what you're like, tho, is not at all exact!)

Keep it up.


6:59 AM  
Blogger Lyle Daggett said...

Likewise congratulations on the year.

I understand your point being "different" in that you don't use it to talk much about yourself, post pictures of yourself, or any of the amusing memes that make the rounds in blogland. I don't see any problem with your using your blog the way you do.

I use my blog pretty much the same way -- I use it pretty much to talk about poetry (and related things, whatever that might encompass), I don't talk about myself much unless it seems to me to relate in some way or other to what I'm saying about the poetry, I've never posted pictures (though that might be partly because I haven't taken the time to figure out how), etc.

There are other blogs I like that seem to follow similar shapes: Michael Hoerman's Pornfeld, Julia Stein's California Writer, Ann White's Red Hibiscus and Ruth Ellen Kocher's Aboutaword come to mind offhand. There are also the news-of-the-poetry-world blogs out there, such as Dumbfoundry and Poetry Hut (both of which I check almost daily), which also don't give much info about the bloggers themselves.

Anyway I'm pleased you plan to be around. Your blog is one I visit whenever I'm making the rounds. Cheers, and salud.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Geof, thanks for the comments and for teaching me a ton about visual poetry. Actually, to be honest, I didn't even know that there was such a thing as visual poetry till I stumbled across your blog about a year ago now.

Your blog, (or rather, "blogs" -- I don't know how you find the time to maintain so many different ones) is also kind of like mine in the sense that it's not too personal. Of course, it's also not like mine in the sense that you've got interesting graphics up all the time! I should probably to sharpen my layout, etc., but alas, there are only so many hours in a day.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Lyle, yes, definitely, I think I underestimated the number of blogs out there like mine. Or rather, I was thinking of and comparing my blog to blogs that mine never really intended to be. Sort of like a "grass is greener on the other side" phenomenon.

But I've got no regrets. Maybe two or three different blogs exploring different interests/parts of myself would be interesting, but I like what I'm doing here.

And I can completely sympathize with the point about not having enough time to learn how to post pics!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Lee Herrick said...


Happy one-year. Pictures or no, personal revelations or no, I appreciate this blog for its purpose (magnifying Asian American poetry) and interesting posts.

Best in 06.

p.s. I've gotten lazy on my blog---resorted to posting a lot of pictures and writing very little. Oh well.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Lee, hmmm...I guess pictures do help, because I'd thought your blog has been well-kept the past couple months. :)

Actually, your blog is always fun and interesting to me. The whole Memoirs of a Geisha thing was quite lovely. Maybe I can get a little discussion out of the new "Asian-American men and looks" post as well, but we'll see...

9:22 AM  
Blogger C. Dale said...

I am glad you stuck around.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Roger Pao said...

Thanks a lot, Dale! I'm glad that you've stuck around as well, as your blog is what I would want my alternative, imaginary, more personal second blog to be, if I had the time to keep such a blog.

7:49 PM  
Blogger # said...

I'd like to read on some of your poetry, you get to know more about a person through their thoughts and writing

8:44 AM  

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