Carlos Bulosan on Writing: The Role of Letters

Marilyn Alquizola, Lane Ryo Hirabayashi


Two themes from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s study, Kafka Toward aMinor Literature, serve as an inspiration for this rumination on Carlos Bulosan’s1955 letter to Florentino B. Valeros about writing and the responsibilities of thewriter. Because Bulosan was an inherently political writer, his correspondenceis part-and-parcel of his writing machine, inclusive of his poetry, short stories,novels, and expository essays. In this, Bulosan’s case is parallel to that of Kafka. Incontradistinction to Kafka, however, Bulosan’s letters are not easily categorized interms of thematics such as those Deleuze and Guattari identify in the cases of Kafkaand Proust. Because both his life and his cultural production were forged in the heatof struggles for workers’ rights, against racism, and against various manifestationsof anti-immigrant, anti-Filipino, and anti-progressive sentiments during his lifetime,Bulosan’s correspondence demarks a line of flight that is distinctive from theconventions expressed by other authors in their letters.


America Is in the Heart as minor literature; Bulosan’s letters; Carlos Bulosan; Carlos Bulosan on writing and art; Carlos Bulosan; political writing; politics and writing

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