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About this poet

Victoria Chang has received degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Stanford University, as well as an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

She is the author of Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); The Boss (McSweeney’s, 2013), winner of a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award; Salvinia Molesta (University of Georgia Press, 2008); and Circle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). Chang is also the editor of the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and author of a picture book, Is Mommy? (Beach Lane Books, 2015), illustrated by Marla Frazee. Her collection OBIT, forthcoming in 2020 from Copper Canyon Press, won the 2018 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Of her work, Ilya Kaminsky writes, “To say simply that Chang takes the Modernist’s music and makes it new again, makes it alive, is to say only half-truth, for she truly re-inhabits it, re-kindles the flame. This radically new music is political, yes, but it is also ecstatic.”

Chang, who received a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, serves as a contributing editor of Copper Nickel and a poetry editor of Tupelo Quarterly. Chang also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. She teaches in the MFA program at Antioch University and co-coordinates the Idyllwild Writers Week. She will be the Poem-a-day Guest Editor in May 2019, and lives in Southern California.


Selected Bibliography
Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017)
The Boss (McSweeney’s, 2013)
Salvinia Molesta (University of Georgia Press, 2008)
Circle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005)

Barbie Chang Got Her Hair Done

Barbie Chang got her hair done for
     the school auction
 
she was afraid sick of the Circle since
     she heard of their
 
shopping for matching dresses so out
     of the nest she flew
 
into the auction thinking she could
     outmaneuver her
 
loneliness thinking she could overcome
     being classified thinking
 
she could be an agent of her own
     classification in came
 
the Circle dunk tossing coins at baskets
     one in pink one in
 
green one in orange one in purple
     matching floral
 
barrettes glowing like a rainbow that
     seemed low enough
 
to reach to touch Barbie Chang would
     never admit it but
 
she still wanted the rainbow to rain on
     her to wear bows in her
 
hair that meant she belonged somewhere
     else she owed it to
 
her children to make friends to blend
     into the dead end
 

From Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

From Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang is the author of Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). She will be the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor in May 2019, and she lives in Southern California.

by this poet

poem

Someone will        love you     many will      love

you         many will brother you   some of these

loves will        bother you   some   will      leave you

one might        haunt   you      hunt you in your

sleep        make you       weep the tearless kind of

weep the        

2
poem

Friendships—died June 24, 2009, once
beloved but not consistently beloved. 
The mirror won the battle.  I am now
imprisoned in the mirror.  All my selves
spread out like a deck of cards. It’s true,
the grieving speak a different language. 
I am separated from my friends by
gauze

poem
The Blue Dress—died on August 6,
2015, along with the little blue flowers, 
all silent. Once the petals looked up.  
Now small pieces of dust. I wonder 
whether they burned the dress or just 
the body? I wonder who lifted her up 
into the fire? I wonder if her hair 
brushed his cheek before it grew into a
2