About the Author
Shelley Wong is a Kundiman fellow who lives in Oakland, California. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, The Normal School, Sixth Finch, Vinyl, and other journals. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and scholarships from Fine Arts Work Center and Napa Valley Writers' Conference. She holds an MFA from the Ohio State University.
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