Ten Thousand Things: Artifacts of Asian American Life with Shin Yu Pai
In many Chinese sayings, “ten thousand” is used in a poetic sense to convey something infinite, vast, and unfathomable. In a sense, the story of Asians in America is just that. In her NPR podcast ”Ten Thousand Things,” Shin Yu Pai explores a collection of objects and artifacts that reveal personal and cultural values, stories of diaspora, and tales of trauma that illuminate the Asian American experience.
In this talk enriched by audio clips, Pai shares intimate stories from Asian American communities drawn from two seasons of her chart-topping podcast. From a second-hand novel to a blue suit worn by a congressman on January 6, Shin Yu Pai will discuss Asian American histories, the complexity of Asian American identities and where they fit or don’t fit within larger conversations on race, and what the Asian American experience was like during pandemic.
Shin Yu Pai (she/her) is currently Civic Poet of Seattle (2023-2024). She the author of 13 books, including most recently No Neutral (Empty Bowl, 2023). She is the recipient of awards from the The Academy of American Poets, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and The Awesome Foundation. She is a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted in 2014 for a Stranger Genius Award in Literature. From 2015 to 2017, Shin Yu served as Poet Laureate for The City of Redmond. Her writing has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Tricycle Magazine, YES! Magazine, NYTimes, Zocalo Public Square, Seattle Met, ParentMap, Seattle’s Child, International Examiner, and South Seattle Emerald. Her work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S., Japan, China, Taiwan, the UK, and Canada. Shin Yu is the writer, host, and producer of Ten Thousand Things – a chart-topping podcast on Asian American stories for KUOW Public Radio, Seattle’s NPR affiliate station. The show has won two Golden Crane Awards from the Asian American Podcasters Association and a silver from the Signal Awards. A new book is forthcoming in 2024 from Chronicle Books.