Between the Lines: Asian American Women’s Poetry

2001
Distributed by Women Make Movies, Inc., 462 Broadway, Suite 500 WS, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Yunah Hong
Directed by Yunah Hong
VHS, color, 60 min.
Sr. High - College
Poetry, Women's Studies


Reviewed by Kate Merrill, Literature & Media Division, Rochester Public Library, Rochester, NY

Recommended   
 


Using oral interviews with over a dozen Asian American women poets, Yunah Hong’s documentary looks closely at the importance of several motifs commonly shared by all in their poetry. Themes such as memory, immigration, heritage, spirituality, and family are threads which tie the footage into a cohesive whole, and it is a fascinating examination of the processes behind writing poetry. Well-known writers include Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka, but may be an introduction to lesser known poets for the uninitiated viewer. Hong uses historical footage, home movies, and a blend of music to complement the interviews. Many of the poets read from their own works.

The technical quality of the film is good, although sound is muffled somewhat in two or three interviews, easily controlled by increasing volume. The documentary is coherently arranged by theme and moves at a satisfactory pace.

An ideal purchase for libraries wishing to add more poetry to their visual collections. College undergraduates studying ethnic literature or women’s writing will find this video extremely useful, as it provides an intimate glimpse into the writer’s world and the creative and structural processes which produce poetry.