“Can You Tell the Rhetorical Difference?”

Foraging and Fodder in Rita Wong’s Forage


  • Morgan Cohen University of Waterloo


In forage, Rita Wong explores the subversion and lexicon of “familiar” cultural narratives—that is, status quo stories—with its less-familiar affects. Calling upon her skillful use of poetics, Wong challenges material interconnectedness by revealing how neoliberal ideology supports and inextricably links status quo stories to the socio-political and the cultural; that is, identity is not only surrounded but also rendered by constructs of commodification that is determined through language and physical bodies. In this essay, invoking protean assemblages of mattering in relation to identity, I explore how “foraging” and “fodder” are in tension in Wong’s collection, highlighting the search for (intellectual) sustenance, and yet how being caught within a capitalist system and its deployment of “status quo stories” is used in turn as “fodder” for the functioning of neoliberal machinery.