Asian/Asian American literary magazine Voices releases new issue

Senior Tony Nguyen and first-year Mayu Kawahara perform during TASC’s Open Mic Night to present the launch of the Tufts Asian/Asian American literary magazine Voices on March 8 in the Curtis Hall Multi-Purpose Room. Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily

Voices, Tufts’ only publication centered on the experiences of Asian and Asian American students, has released its first issue of the year. Last night, students celebrated the release of the magazine with an open mic event hosted by Tufts Asian Student Coalition (TASC) in the Curtis Hall Multi-Purpose Room. 

According to Vivian Tam, a senior and a member of the publishing team, Voices is meant to provide a platform and a comfortable environment for Asians and Asian Americans at Tufts to share their experiences. Joseph Tsuboi, another member of the publishing team, said that Voices attempts to fill a gap in the representation of Asian American experiences on campus and increase nuance within the narratives that do exist.

“The goal of the magazine was to present prose, poetry, painting, and all types of art by and for Asian Americans,” Tsuboi, a senior, told the Daily in an electronic message. “We believed that there was not enough representation on Asian American experiences covered in dominant White spaces, and even on Tufts campus. So the Tufts Asian Student Coalition aimed to fill those gaps and bring forward more nuanced narratives about gender, mental health, immigration and assimilation, which all intersect with Asian America.”

Tsuboi said that his participation in Voices was a way to convey emotions that are not generally expressed in an academic environment. He said he hopes Voices can provide that space for others in Tufts’ Asian American community.

“I would say for me personally, this magazine was a way to express some emotions that I have had to bury within the academic sphere,” Tsuboi said.

Tsuboi explained that he has devoted much of his time to ethnographic and archival research on his own family history, focusing particularly on his grandfather’s incarceration.

“What are the intergenerational silences and traumas that permeate into the next generation? I believe that Voices, a space for these specific and personal Asian American narratives, is a means to tell these stories and find support within the larger Tufts Asian American community,” Tsuboi said.

The team hoped the submissions would guide the final project and did not go into the planning of the issue with a specific desire for the outcome, according to Tsuboi.

“We wanted to showcase all types of art,” he said. “Everyone had such unique perspectives in writing, and also photography and painting and design.”

Tam said Voices has existed since 1985 and has been published intermittently since its creation.

Since its initial publication, Pham, a senior, said the publishing team has consistently experienced difficulty creating the magazine. This is due to the high turnover that is typical of college publications, so that each year staff must re-learn how to put together the magazine.

Still, she stressed the publication’s importance as the only one focused on Asian and Asian American voices. Pham said that each year the magazine was published, the publishing team expressed determination to keep the publication going.

A key difference between this year’s publication and publications of the past is that this year the Voices publishing team and those who submitted to the magazine are students at both the Medford/Somerville campus and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, Pham explained. As a result of this change, this year’s magazine features much more art than past issues, all by Asians and Asian Americans in the Tufts community.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Voices had not published since 2016. Voices released its last issue in 2017. The article has been updated online to reflect this change. The Daily regrets this error.

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