Waiting for Asian Canada: Fred Wah's Transnational Aesthetics

  • Timothy Yu University of Wisconsin-Madison


Fred Wah's 1985 Waiting for Saskatchewan offers a snapshot of the emergence of an Asian Canadian aesthetic, providing a genealogy that positions Asian Canadian writing at the nexus of transnational flows from China, Japan, and the United States, while also emphasizing the cross-ethnic coalitions that give rise to the category of the Asian Canadian in the 1970s and 1980s.  Waiting for Saskatchewan offers a complex constellation of Chinese content, Japanese forms, and U.S. aesthetic mediation that nonetheless takes as its “centre” a small Canadian prairie town. The forms of Waiting, from Olsonian projective poetics to the Japanese haibun, reveal Asian Canada as a process of transnational convergence, a dialogic space that is always being rewritten across national borders.

Author Biography

Timothy Yu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Timothy Yu is associate professor of English and Asian American studies and director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 and of a poetry collection, 100 Chinese Silences.