TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT Interviews Dorothy Chan

[Dorothy Chan]: I believe that the most effective pieces of writing are pieces of writing that aren’t afraid to "give it all away." I always think that the best writing is stuff that is easy for the reader to read. Not in an elementary sense...If the reader must work so hard to interpret what something means, simply put, then there’s something missing.

Read the full interview at The Tallahassee Democrat.


“Who doesn’t think kissing is the greatest thing / in the world other than eating?” Revenge of the Asian Woman comes to life on a sexed-up soap opera / B-movie platter where passion and food and fantasy reign supreme: excess in the form of full odes and triple sonnets with towers of macarons and carnival desserts and Hong Kong street food on a skewer—and make it a double. The East Asian girl boss takes her revenge on those who have fetishized her, looking great in gold booty shorts, while recounting her parents’ love story, the Chinese-American immigrant dream, her Chinese zodiac fate, and her own sexual awakening. She conquers all, moving through this universe of two-headed fantasies, aggressive foreheads, and magical girl transformation sequences, having her cake and eating it too—“Oh, cut that cake again.


Praise for Revenge of the Asian Woman:


In Dorothy Chan’s new poems watch how the boys and girls of a materialist world depend on destruction (even of the earth) as the price of vision. This is a particle acceleration of the human heart, of shiny attractions that are mysteriously transmitted out of abstraction into our world—here desire organizes culture, one tracking the other in a wilderness that is increasingly desperate for perfection. Of course, she says, we are what we eat! This is a very very important book.

Norman Dubie


Dorothy Chan's mind is a banquet, a smorgasbord, a feast of oysters, caviar, cocktails, sexual investigation, and late-night bacchanals. Like Odysseus she is at the prow of her poetic ship of odes and sonnets, and with a fearless voice navigates through the sirens of 21st century peril. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet of wild abandon, a curious over-caffeinated woman plowing into the night of pop culture delirium. Be prepared to enter a world where Judy Jetson and Liberace tango with Aphrodite and Parmigianino's Madonna. Chan says, "Asian girls have that thing going on," and you may think you know what she means, but believe me, you have no idea what this poetic tsunami will unleash on your shores.

Barbara Hamby


Here to snatch you into a frenzied, messy, riotous joy, the poems in Dorothy Chan’s collection flash and spin and buzz, a cyclone of imagery and formal play. A Fury in the middle of a John Hughes film, “a freak everywhere,” Chan’s speaker tears through the scenery: all pop and porn and “abs abs abs,” daytime soaps, boba tea in Kowloon, and “Technicolor Xanadu”; then quiets to reveal (“your grandparents worked at a pajama stand/ in Mong Kok”; or “two anime girls...sneaking a kiss/ in the rose bushes of the Catholic boarding school”; or how “one day, saying goodbye to your/ pet goose—you ran down the road/ and into a circus tent”) longing pulsing the center of each moment. Writing “Dad thinks my forehead is too Godzilla,” Chan pops the top, exposing a vast cache: the poetics of “a grown ass woman.” “...[A]nd you know I’m not some Fay Wray,” these poems declare boldly, “who screams at the sight of a hand.” Revenge of the Asian Woman translates itself into a dizzyingly lush and empowered excess. Revenge is “lavender religieuse and Ispahans,” “whipped plum ice cream,” “what potato chips taste like on Saturn.” Revenge is “I don’t have time to be someone else’s biographer.” Revenge is beautiful.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon


Dorothy Chan is the author of Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Academy of American Poets, The Cincinnati Review, ​The Common, Diode Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Chan is the Editor of The Southeast Review. Visit her website at dorothypoetry.com.

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