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About this poet

Wang Ping was born in August 14, 1957, in Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution. She received her BA in English literature from Beijing University in 1984 and immigrated to the United States in 1985. Ping received her MA in English literature from Long Island University two years later. It was at Long Island University, when she accidentally walked into a creative writing class, that Ping started writing poetry, stories, and novels. She went on to receive her PhD in comparative literature from New York University in 1999.

Ping’s poetry collections include Ten Thousand Waves (Wings Press, 2014), The Magic Whip (Coffee House Press, 2003), and Of Flesh & Spirit (Coffee House Press, 1998). Ping’s poetry speaks to the interweaving of two cultures—Chinese and American—and what occurs at the sometimes stark and violent intersection of two different sets of languages, traditions, and histories. Ping, who explores her Chinese ancestry, identity, and matters of eroticism and gender in her work, has also authored short story collections, novels, works in translation, and academic texts that tackle these themes. Her nonfiction book Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities, and her short story collection The Last Communist Virgin (Coffee House Press, 2007) won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award and Asian American Studies Award.

Ping’s other awards include fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the founder of the Kinship of Rivers project, which aims to raise environmental awareness and bring the communities along the Yangtze and Mississippi rivers together through interdisciplinary arts.

Ping is currently an associate professor at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Ten Thousand Waves (Wings Press, 2014)
The Magic Whip (Coffee House Press, 2003)
Of Flesh & Spirit (Coffee House Press, 1998)

Fiction

The Last Communist Virgin (Coffee House Press, 2007)
Foreign Devil (Coffee House Press, 1996)
American Visa (Coffee House Press, 1994)

Nonfiction

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (University of Minnesota Press, 2000)

Solstice in Llasa

What more can you say
Nomad daughter of glaciers?
City has bleached the sun from your face
18 years old with a freckled nose
Hides of yak, barley, sandy wind
Knees stiff from scrubbing toilets
What dreams keep you alive
On the marble floor of Gangkar Hotel?

Drunken tourists and their nightingales
Money is the moon on Lhasa's holy streets
In Beijing a storm drops 36 tons
Of dust upon the city of concrete
Nomad daughter from the Black River
What more can you say?
The wetland is becoming a desert
Home for rats, carcass of yaks

The salted tea you brought to my room
Yellow butter afloat from a distant factory
"It's fake but tastes okay.
The real is gone, like snowcaps."

Wind, breath, naked river beds
At dusk, a boy on motorcycle
Comes home with his last herd
Nomad daughter from the Sacred Lake
What dreams keep you going
In the glass cage of illusion?

Before the clouds
Cabs, trucks, mobs of fortune seekers
Behind the clouds
Patola Palace absent of its Buddha

Your ancestors are on the road
Nomad daughter from the Blue Treasure Plateau
Wooden gloves and padded knees
Long prostrations into the thin air
Their cry of never-perish ghosts
Calling you to keep the lamp burning, burning

And you shout to me across the street
"Sister, please find me a rich husband in America."

Copyright © 2014 by Wang Ping. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Copyright © 2014 by Wang Ping. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

Wang Ping

Wang Ping

Wang Ping is a poet and fiction writer whose work often speaks to the interweaving of two cultures—Chinese and American—and what occurs at the sometimes stark and violent intersection of two different sets of languages, traditions, and histories.

by this poet

poem

I'm not a singer, but please
let me sing of the peacemakers
on the streets and internet, your candles
in this darkest moment of night,
your bodies on the steps of government buildings,
your voices from the roots of grasses and trees,
from your pit of conscience.

I'm not a prayer

poem

 

Do not move. Let me speak of a river in paradise
A turquoise gift from fiery stars that is paradise

How do you measure a river’s weight, color, smell, touch?
How do you feel the veins of sand in a breathing paradise?

Eons of earth story, long before rocks, plants or bones
Bulging

poem

“Oh no, not with your syntax,” said H.V. to her daughter-in-law, a Chinese writing poetry in English

She walk to table
She walks to a table

She walk to table now
She is walking to a table now

What difference it make