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This chapter talks about two most prominent early Korean/American writers, Younghill Kang and Richard Eun-kook Kim. Kang made numerous attempts to become naturalized as a US citizen, including separate special bills introduced specifically on his behalf in the US House of Representative and Senate in 1939. One of the historiographic virtues of Kang's work is that both Korea and the United States, from the perspective of an exile, become heterotopic spaces, meta-sites of otherness that reveal the underlying values and desires that animate them. Fiction for both writers involved not only presenting a foreign culture to an American audience but also narrating the various complexities of intercultural exchange. For Kang and Kim, it is specifically the geopolitical changes inaugurated by emergent and resurgent American-century imperialism and hegemony in myriad forms that forge new alliances and partnerships that flower into happy marriages or falter into disconcerting proximities and competing interests.
Adrienne Rich, James Wright, Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov all did some of their best and most influential work in the 1960s and in response to the changes that vexed decade brought. These four poets offer a range of versions of authenticity and at the same time show the variety of possibilities open to poets about the uses of authenticity. In the 1950s Rich wrote two books of well-received poetry. Her first book, A Change of World, published while she was still an undergraduate at Radcliffe, was chosen by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Award. Like Wright, Olson thrived on assertions of the imagination's freedom from every critical absolute, including the insistence on total liberation from the past. In 1950 Duncan published Medieval Scenes. Duncan and Levertov's letters record a long series of acts of mutual encouragement: two poets on opposite coasts, almost never meeting, engaged in an intense, affectionate, wide-ranging conversation.