Timothy Yu

Associate Professor, English and Asian American Studies
7137 Helen C. White Hall
(608) 263-3818
E-mail Timothy Yu
Modern and contemporary American literature; contemporary poetry; Asian American literature and culture; the avant-garde; race in American literature; diaspora

Degrees and Institutions

Ph.D., English and American Literature, Stanford University, 2005
AB, Social Studies and English and American Literature and Language, Harvard University, 1996

Selected Publications

  • Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.
  • “Oriental Cities, Postmodern Futures: Naked Lunch, Blade Runner, and Neuromancer." MELUS 33.4: 45-73.
  • “Traveling Genres and the Failure of Asian American Short Fiction.”  Genre 39.4: 23-41.
  • “‘The Hand of a Chinese Master’: José Garcia Villa and Modernist Orientalism.”  MELUS 29.1: 41-59. 
  • “Form and Identity in Language Poetry and Asian American Poetry.”  Contemporary Literature 41.3: 422-61.
  • Journey to the West.  Winner of the Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize.  Barrow Street Winter 2006: 51-67.

Personal Statement

My current book project, Diasporic Poetics, examines English-language poets of Asian descent working around the Pacific Rim—in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, and Australia.  I argue that these poets have developed a distinctive poetics that exceeds our current paradigms of race, nation, and diaspora.  The Chinese Canadian poet Fred Wah borrows a Japanese form, the haibun, for his autobiographical poems, while the Chinese Australian poet Ouyang Yu translates Chinese poetry through the American idiom of the New York School.  Such lateral, cross-cultural borrowings are what I call strategies of adaptation—appropriations of existing styles, modes, and content from widely varied sources that articulate the poet’s distinctive location within national and transnational cultures.  The project draws on interviews and archival work while offering a theoretical model that bridges diasporic and ethnic studies paradigms.

Recent Books

  • Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry Since 1965

    Timothy Yu

    Stanford University Press


    A groundbreaking study of contemporary American poetry, Race and the Avant-Garde changes the way we think about race and literature. Examining two of the most exciting developments in recent American writing, Timothy Yu juxtaposes the works of experimental language poets and Asian American poets—concerned primarily with issues of social identity centered around discourses of race.