poet, professor, restaurant baby
Jane Wong is the author of the memoir Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Tin House, 2023). She also wrote two poetry collections: How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). She grew up on the Jersey shore in a restaurant and is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University where she teaches creative writing and Asian American literature. She really likes raccoons.
About Their Work:
“In Over Pour, sometimes wearing her mother’s fierce, rueful shadow like a tailored dress, always sizing up the ineluctable phenomena of quotidian possibility against memory, heritage and history, Jane Wong makes her way. Each of the book’s poems unfolds as a series of dense, abrupt, sharply metaphorical utterances, each utterance an action that builds further feeling and meaning. Voices, worlds, temporalities and tenses intertwine, transformed through an incantatory, ironic, folkloric argot that fuses them into a way of seeing. What they show us is tough, rueful, and stubbornly vital, a pungent broth of revelation.”
Looking at her more recent work, while the culinary metaphor still seems appropriate, the poet seems to be diving deeper and deeper into the reaches of argot, imagery, linguistic registers and modes of diction. The voice in the poem flakes off into myriad rueful, angry, obstreperously funny and wincingly satirical epigrams. The mordantly personal, the fantastically historical and the mundanely persistent world of Wong’s Chinese America collide with botanical phantasmagoria and with the imbecilically insistent present of the white American cultural landscape. The end result is unnerving, sometimes devastating and oddly hilarious.
Now we have Jane's memoir! Hold onto your seats!
Books (for purchase):
Overpour (Action Books)
How Not to Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James Books)
Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City (Tin House)
Read for Margin Shift:
August 16, 2018
November 3, 2022
May 20, 2023