Jenny Xie & Jennifer S. Cheng
City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Jenny Xie reading from her award winning poetry collection
published by Graywolf Press
Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Juan Felipe Herrera
Jennifer S. Cheng reading from
MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS
from Tarpaulin Press
Jenny Xie's award-winning debut, Eye Level, takes us far and near, to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and elsewhere, as we travel closer and closer to the acutely felt solitude that centers this searching, moving collection. Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here—colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes—bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen. As Xie writes, "Me? I'm just here in my traveler's clothes, trying on each passing town for size." Her taut, elusive poems exult in a life simultaneously crowded and quiet, caught in between things and places, and never quite entirely at home. Xie is a poet of extraordinary perception—both to the tangible world and to "All that is untouchable as far as the eye can reach."
Jenny Xie was born in Hefei, China, and raised in New Jersey. She holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University, and has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She is the recipient of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets for Eye Level and the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize for Nowhere to Arrive. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, the New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere. She teaches at New York University.
Jennifer S. Cheng’s second book, MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS, was selected by Bhanu Kapil as winner of the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She is also the author of HOUSE A, selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize, and Invocation: An Essay, an image-text chapbook published by New Michigan Press. Her writing appears in Tin House, The Literary Hub, Conjunctions, The Normal School, Guernica, Hong Kong 20/20 (a PEN Hong Kong anthology), and elsewhere. She received fellowships and awards from Brown University, the University of Iowa, San Francisco State University, the U.S. Fulbright program, Kundiman, Bread Loaf, and the Academy of American Poets. Having grown up in Texas, Connecticut, and Hong Kong, she lives in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. www.jenniferscheng.com