“Dear Memory”: Victoria Chang’s epistolary grief


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This week on The question of writing, Lauren speaks with poet and memory artist Victoria Chang, author Dear memory: Letters on writing, silence and mourning (Asclépiades editions). In this hybrid book of poetry, memory and visual art, Chang explores the grief – and curiosity – she feels alongside the loss of her mother, and with her, her story and the knowledge of her ancestors. In this conversation, the two explore the ‘a-synchronicity’ of feelings and how silence can be used to both hide and protect.

About Victoria:

Victoria Chang is the author of Dear memory. His poetry books include OBIT, Barbie chang, The boss, Salvinia molesta, and Circle. OBIT received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the PEN Voeckler Award; he was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. She is also the author of a picture book for children, Does mom?, illustrated by Marla Frazee and named a New York Times Notable Book, and a mid-level novel, Love, Love. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Prize from the Poetry Society of America, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the chair of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Antioch.

Victoria Chang recommends:

The year of magical thinking and Blue nights by Joan Didion (Vintage Books)

The long goodbye by Megan O’Rourke (Riverhead Books)

Objets d’art: Essays on ecstasy and effrontery by Jeannette Winterson (Old books)

The two types of decomposition by Sarah Manguso (Picador)

H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald (Grove Press)

Lauren Korn recommends:

OBIT by Victoria Chang (Copper Canyon Press)

Grieving sequence by Prageeta Sharma (Poetry of the waves)

A thousand times you lose your treasure by Hoa Nguyen (Poetry of the waves)

“Notes on mourning” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in The New Yorker and now published as a book by Knopf Publishing Group

The question of writing the team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom berich, sound engineer.

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