Join Porter Square Books for a virtual event with poet Victoria Chang for her newest book, Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief, a collection of letters described as "moving in a way that transcends story and message; it captures a pure sense of another person's heart" in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. She will be joined in conversation by Sarah Manguso (poet and author of the upcoming Very Cold People). This event is free and open to all, hosted on Crowdcast.
A collection of literary letters and mementos on the art of remembering across generations.
For poet Victoria Chang, memory "isn't something that blooms, but something that bleeds internally." It is willed, summoned, and dragged to the surface. The remembrances in this collection of letters are founded in the fragments of stories her mother shared reluctantly, and the silences of her father, who first would not and then could not share more. They are whittled and sculpted from an archive of family relics: a marriage license, a letter, a visa petition, a photograph. And, just as often, they are built on the questions that can no longer be answered.
Dear Memory is not a transcription but a process of simultaneously shaping and being shaped, knowing that when a writer dips their pen into history, what emerges is poetry. In carefully crafted missives on trauma and loss, on being American and Chinese, Victoria Chang shows how grief can ignite a longing to know yourself.
In letters to family, past teachers, and fellow poets, as the imagination, Dear Memory offers a model for what it looks like to find ourselves in our histories.
Victoria Chang is the author of Dear Memory. Her poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. OBIT received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the PEN Voeckler Award; it was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. She is also the author of a children's picture book, Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee and named a New York Times Notable Book, and a middle grade novel, Love, Love. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch University's low-residency MFA program.
Sarah Manguso is the author of eight books, most recently 300 Arguments, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay, all works of essayistic nonfiction. Her other books include the story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape and the poetry collections Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise. Her work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at Antioch University. Her first novel, Very Cold People, is forthcoming in February 2022.