From an interview with Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang.


I was reading a book on flora and fauna. I was reading about beech trees, and no matter how many times I read the phrase beech tree, I kept seeing: bitch tree. So I thought I would write a poem called "Bitch Tree" to honor the fact that I kept misreading something.

At the same time, you can see by the sort of play in sound and rhythm that I was really inspired by...we haven't talked yet about influences, but one of my bigger influences is John Berryman. It's odd, because if you looked at my work, you wouldn't necessarily think: influenced by John Berryman.

But this one definitely is, because he always wanted a serious sense of humor to his work. This was actually quite fun, because I got to think about the role of the bitch and what that meant. And it came quite quickly. It's called "Bitch Tree."

watch chang on being a poet and mother