Photo Courtesy of the Author
Shelley Wong is the author of As She Appears (YesYes Books, 2022), winner of the 2019 Pamet River Prize, and the chapbook RARE BIRDS (Diode Editions, 2017). She is an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts and lives in San Francisco.
Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, and The New Republicand are forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2021 and They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets (Blue Oak Press, 2021).
She has received a Pushcart Prize; fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, I-Park Foundation, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Fire Island National Seashore, SPACE, Brown Handler Residency/Friends of San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), and RADAR/SFPL James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center; and commissions from Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and Headlands Center for the Arts.
She has taught creative writing at the Ohio State University; led workshops for Asian Pacific Islander Equality Northern California, BreakBread Literacy Project, and University of California at San Francisco; and delivered the 2020 API Visiting Scholar lecture at Pasadena City College. She holds an MFA from the Ohio State University and a BA from UC Berkeley.
"In Rare Birds, Shelley Wong weaves the shimmering threads of iconic women, nature, the arts, and queer love to create erotically lush poems articulated with terrifying accuracy. The result is this hypnotic and unapologetically beautiful tapestry:
I can’t say why
the world is so broken. Exalt
all women. I’m the tree coming back
through the page.
Rare Birds is the poetry of alchemy at its most mysterious and inviting."
—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore
"In Shelley Wong’s brilliant debut chapbook, girls look like trees and women make their own forests when the dangers of love rise. Rare Birds is a book of burning and beauty; the voices within these pages are multiple and multiply: they speak from the shadow of Frida Kahlo, the broken and exalted 'I,' the 'we' once named suspect— a tribe now rising. Mangoes, jets, heels, and salt—those objects of the heart—usher in a world both common and strange, a world where 'the men carve me, but my bones / cut back.' Prepared to be astonished, seduced, and transformed by the poems woven and sung here: 'I peacock in the in-between,' proclaims the speaker. 'I multiply like a queen.'"
—Brynn Saito, author of Power Made Us Swoon