Poet Marilyn Chin to give virtual reading to celebrate Women’s History Month

Award-winning poet Marilyn Chin will share her work in a virtual reading at Emory University on Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m.

The online reading, which is open to the public at no charge, also celebrates Women’s History Month. The event is part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series founded by Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Participants can register here to receive a link to watch the reading.

Chin, who is Chinese American and describes herself as an activist poet, says her work both laments and celebrates her “hyphenated” identity. Her widely taught poems have been alternately referred to as funny, fearless and feminist, and have earned her an array of prestigious literary honors.

Her tonal range, one reviewer wrote, “can move quickly from playfulness, to deep sorrow, to in-your-face-anger, to humor, to hot sex, to comic absurdity, to didactic finger pointing, to Zen stillness, to the macabre.”

Her poems weave strong narratives, such as an immigrant child’s exchange with bullies (“Study Hall, Deterritorialized”), and the painful experience of how her father chose her English name, one her mother couldn’t pronounce (her best-known prose poem, “How I Got That Name: An Essay on Assimilation”).

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon, Chin has written five collections of poetry, including “A Portrait of the Self As Nation: New and Selected Poems” (2018). Her book, “Hard Love Province,” won the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry, which honors books that confront racism and examine diversity. She is also the author of the novel, “Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen” (2009).

Among the many honors for her work are the 2020 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fulbright fellowship to Taiwan, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, five Pushcart Prizes, and the Stegner Fellowship.

Her poems have been included in anthologies such as the “Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry,” “Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry,” “The Open Boat: Poems from Asian-America,” and “The Best American Poetry of 1996.” She was featured in Bill Moyers’ PBS series “The Language of Life.”

During her visit, Chin will also meet with students in Emory’s English and creative writing classes to discuss poetry.

“The Rose Library is honored that Marilyn Chin will join us this spring to share her poetry,” said Jennifer Gunter King, director of the Rose Library. “Her vivid and lively poetry will energize our community and create an opportunity to celebrate Asian American poetry and writing. We hope that many Emory students and community members in Atlanta will be able to take advantage of this singular opportunity to share time with such an important figure in the poetry world.”

Chin, who received a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MFA from the University of Iowa, has taught at the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2018, and she serves alongside poets and former Emory creative writing professors Kevin Young and Natasha Trethewey, both of whom placed their papers with the Rose Library, as well as Joy Harjo, who read at Emory’s Danowski spring reading in March 2021. Chin is a retired professor at San Diego State University.

Chin’s visit is hosted by the Rose Library (part of the Emory Libraries) and sponsored by the Hightower Fund. It is co-sponsored by the Emory University Office for Racial and Cultural Engagement (RACE).

—Emory Libraries


Related links:

Emory Libraries East Asian Studies LibGuide

Asian American poetry in the Woodruff Library

Emory University Asian Student Center

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Activists (Emory student group)

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gives free Emory University reading online (2021)

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