BJR on this book:
This narrative is a part of the family of the imperialist writings of Theodore Roosevelt, and Frederick Jackson Turner, and the formation of the American Man through the taming and civilizing of the Wild and Dark (pigmented skin, unenlightened), childlike superstitious Other.
What is obviously troubling to me is this I white center versus black brown other existing marginally and only in relation to that I white center pervasive cosmology’s refusal to die out and become irrelevant, or pointedly criticized by American literary institutions.
Paolo Javier on book and poet:
"I think a greater part of my shock about Mission Work comes from my knowledge of its author’s prior/continued engagement with a somewhat visible group of Asian American poets in NYC. In addition to the above final questions posed by Barbara Jane, Id like to submit the following: how do you reconcile the Aaron Baker known in the past to be a generous, if not generative, presence for/amongst said group of Asian American poets, with the colonialist & primitivist author of the newly-released Mission Work?"
CSP on a poem from book:
"...weddings, in any culture, are major life events. but look at how baker characterizes the chimbu wedding: he only focuses on the 'primitive' killing of pigs (newsflash to mr baker, you gotta kill the pigs to eat the pigs, nothing real exotic 'bout it.). this primitizing caricature of an indigenous wedding is insulting. the rest of the poem reiterates the paternalistic tone as baker directs his white readers to see / learn from the lessons he learned as a missionary son. apparently, baker has access to a special indigenous knowledge that he wants to share with 'you'."