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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 Loves Evites

Barbie Chang loves Evites Paperless
     Party Posts that host her
 
ego patch her holes she puts barrettes
     on her heart so other
 
people will see her will hear her her
     heart is made of hay is
 
disturbingly small held in it cage she
     is never late when invited
 
always ready for mimesis ready to put
     on her costume to
 
drink mimosas her heart smells like
     moth balls jumps at
 
every broth bell her heart growls more
     each day she trims it with
 
a number two it’s messy work missing
     her aorta by a little bit
 
her heart is always sort of bleeding she is
     always waiting for
 
invitations once she heard the Circle
     planning a birthday party
 
for a daughter she stationed herself
     sipped water for days
 
waiting for the Evite leaving her Kindle
     on as a nightlight it
 
glowed a blue garden on the ceiling she
     let her guard down it
 
never made a ringing sound when you
     brush a child’s hair the
 
mother can also feel the pain she heard
     the ice skating party
 
was a hit little girls going in figure
     eights their breath
 
coming out in clouds shaped like
     little white hearts
 

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

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
How alone Barbie Chang’s mother
     must have felt doing
 
nothing but dying her mother actually
     stopped dying her hair
 
in January stopped being an actuary
     for her money she
 
must have known her time was
poem

Caretakers—died in 2009, 2010, 2011,
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,
one after another.  One didn’t show up
because her husband was arrested. 
Most others watched the clock.  Time
breaks for the living eventually and we
can walk out of doors.  The handle of
time’s door is hot