Through examining the various terms——tonal, rhetorical, thematic, and formal——by which Ezra Pound sought to present Chinese poetic culture and identity in Cathay, this essay delineates a "prehistory" of Asian American verse. For, departing from the reigning discourse of the "Yellow Peril," Cathay has come to embody the authority of the cultural dominant, thereby defining the framework of evaluation for other poetic voicings in English of "Chinese" and "Asian" cultural heritage.

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