Sally Wen Mao
Thursday, March 14, 2019, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
reading and in conversation with Jennifer S. Cheng
celebrating the release of
published by Graywolf Press
In Oculus, Sally Wen Mao explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. The title poem follows a girl in Shanghai who uploaded her suicide onto Instagram. Other poems cross into animated worlds, examine robot culture, and haunt a necropolis for electronic waste. A fascinating sequence speaks in the voice of international icon and first Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong, who travels through the history of cinema with a time machine, even past her death and into the future of film, where she finds she has no progeny. With a speculative imagination and a sharpened wit, Mao powerfully confronts the paradoxes of seeing and being seen, the intimacies made possible and ruined by the screen, and the many roles and representations that women of color are made to endure in order to survive a culture that seeks to consume them.
Sally Wen Mao is the author of a previous poetry collection, Mad Honey Symposium. She has received fellowships from the New York Public Library Cullman Center, the George Washington University, and Kundiman. Visit: http://www.sallywenmao.com/
Jennifer S. Cheng is the author of MOON: Letters, Maps, Poems, selected by Bhanu Kapil as winner of the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize and named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly; HOUSE A, selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize; and Invocation: An Essay (New Michigan Press), A U.S. Fulbright scholar, Kundiman fellow, and Bread Loaf work-study scholar, she is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor Award, the Ann Fields Poetry Award, the Mid-American Review Fineline Prize, and multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her poetry, lyric essays, and image-text work appear in Tin House, AGNI, Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, The Normal School, DIAGRAM, The Volta, Sonora Review, Seneca Review, Hong Kong 20/20 (a PEN HK anthology), and elsewhere.