An unexpected twist has emerged in the story of Michael Derrick Hudson, the white poet who used a Chinese pseudonym to get one of his poems published.
Hudson had his poem “The Bees” published under the pseudonym “Yi-Fen Chou.” His poem was selected to be a part of the 2015 edition of the “Best American Poetry” anthology, where it drew attention and criticism.
Hudson is now being met with scorn from the family of the real Yi-Fen Chou, who was a classmate of Hudson’s at Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The real Yi-Fen Chou is a Purdue University graduate who now works as a nuclear engineer in Chicago.
Ellen Y. Chou, Yi-Fen’s sister, wrote in an email to Fort Wayne’s the News-Sentinel on her sister’s behalf:
“I think what he did was highly fraudulent and unethical.
“His actions not only stole my sister’s name, but also tarnished our family name through its association with him.”
Chou, a communications director with the U.S. Department of Defense, demanded a formal apology from Hudson and a promise that he would discontinue use of her sister’s name. She elaborated that her sister’s name is unique because of the process of selecting names in Chinese. Unlike English, Chinese names are picked from characters that are loaded with significance to the family. She said:
“Regardless how and where he got her name, he should still be made accountable. My family worked hard to achieve our success here in the U.S. We did not steal or assume someone else’s identity to receive preferential treatment or to draw forth public attention.”
Twitter is reacting to the plot twist by adding commentary to the pseudonym controversy.
— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) September 10, 2015
— Minal Unicornwali (@minalh) September 10, 2015
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 10, 2015