The perception of immigrants as positive contributors to the cultural, financial, technological, and artistic makeup of the United States is under attack, as it has been in the past, by individuals, media platforms, and leaders. Rather than reminding us of our shared goals and aspirations, our better selves and greater potentials, these groups continue to denigrate immigrant communities in America.
However, there is no doubt that the immigrant narrative is at the heart of the American experiment. From the beginning, immigrants have played a vital role in shaping the United States into the country we know today. Oscar Hadlin, a pioneer of Immigration Studies, reminds us of this when he says “Once I thought to write a history of immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”
With this issue, we celebrate immigrants as significant contributors to American culture by showcasing the poetry, prose, and visual arts of writers and artists who identify as immigrants and/or explore the immigrant experience in America.
—ABAYOMI ANIMASHAUN, March 2019
Abayomi is a Nigerian émigré. He holds an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a PhD from the University of Kansas. His poems have appeared in several print and online journals, including Diode, TriQuarterly, The Cortland Review, African American Review, Southern Indiana Review, Passages North, and Versedaily. A recipient of the Hudson Prize and a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation, Abayo is the author of three poetry collections, Seahorses, Sailing for Ithaca, and The Giving of Pears, and the editor of three anthologies, Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New & Beginner Poets, Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America, and Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa (with Spectra, Tatenda Muranda, Irwin Iradunkunda, and Timothy Kimutai). A member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, Abayo teaches writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and lives with his wife and two children in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
See his poems in our Spring 2012 issue here.