A collection of writings by a prolific and political Filipino American writer
On Becoming Filipino
Selected Writings of Carlos Bulosan
Search the full text of this book
Carlos Bulosan, edited by E. San Juan, Jr.
A companion volume to The Cry and the Dedication, this is the first extensive collection of Carlos Bulosan's short stories, essays, poetry, and correspondence. Bulosan's writings expound his mission to redefine the Filipino American experience and mark his growth as a writer. The pieces included here reveal how his sensibility, largely shaped by the political circumstances of the 1930s up to the 1950s, articulates the struggles and hopes for equality and justice for Filipinos. He projects a "new world order" liberated from materialist greed, bigoted nativism, racist oppression, and capitalist exploitation. As E. San Juan explains in his Introduction, Bulosan's writings "help us to understand the powerlessness and invisibility of being labeled a Filipino in post Cold War America."
"Though written in the 1940s and 1950s, Bulosan's work has particular relevance in today's racially charged political debates."
"On Becoming Filipino marks a decisive moment in our estimation of Carlos Bulosan's inexhaustible legacy for Asian American and twentieth-century U.S. literatures. This anthology amply captures the startling contemporaneity and political resonance of Bulosan's achievement, and dares us to push the exhausted debates over literary ethnicity and multiculturalism beyond their impoverished terms of bourgeois identity, cultural nationalism, and pluralist representation. This is a remarkably accomplished effort to frame and allegorize Bulosan's writing in terms of a Filipino nomadism ('becoming') and its uneasy displacements across the terrains of U.S.-Philippine colonial and postcolonial relations."
"In this book, Bulosan's political viewsMarxist, anticapitalist, antiracist, and anticolonialistare explored as they evolve, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.... On Becoming Filipino is often a stark testimony to the lives of Filipino migrants: 'I feel like a criminal running away from a crime I did not commit,' Bulosan writes. 'And the crime is that I am a Filipino in America.' Bulosan's letters and essays reveal that...America would always be in his heartas dream, as ideal, as object of a double-edged love which hurt as it both soothed and savaged."
Born in 1911 in the Philippines to a peasant family, Carlos Bulosan was one of the first wave of Filipino immigrants to come to the United States in the 1930s. After several arduous years as a farmworker in California, Bulosan became involved with radical intellectuals and started editing the workers' magazine The New Tide.
While hospitalized for three years for tuberculosis and kidney problems, Bulosan began writing poetry and short stories. Despite having little formal education, he saw his talent for writing as a means to give a voice to Filipino struggles, both in the Philippines and in the United States. He went on to publish three volumes of poetry, a best-selling collection of stories, The Laughter of My Father, and America Is in the Heart, the much acclaimed chronicle based on his family's battle to overcome poverty, violence, and racism in the United States. The Cry and the Dedication carries on Bulosan's passionate, satirical style.
In the series
Asian American History and Culture, edited by K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials.
Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture, series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi and David Palumbo-Liu, series editors K. Scott Wong, Linda Trinh Vő, and Cathy Schlund-Vials continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.