Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang headshot.

Victoria Chang’s new book of poetry, OBIT, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, long listed for a National Book Award, as well as a finalist for the PEN Voeckler Award and the LA Times Book Award. OBIT was also named a TIME Magazine, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, and a New York Times Notable Book. Her other books of poetry are Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Chang has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine Min MacDowell Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and other awards. She is the Program Chair of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA Program.

OBIT [Memory]

—Victoria Chang

Memory—died August 3, 2015.  The
death was not sudden but slowly over a
decade.  I wonder if, when people die,
they  hear  a  bell.   Or  if  they  taste
something sweet, or if they feel a knife
cutting them in half, dragging through
the flesh like sheet cake.  The caretaker
who witnessed my mother’s death quit. 
She holds the memory and images and
now they are gone.  For the rest of her
life, the memories are hers.  She said
my mother couldn’t breathe, then took
her last breath 20 seconds later.  The
way I have imagined a kiss with many
men I have never kissed.  My memory
of  my  mother’s  death  can’t  be  a
memory but is an imagination, each
time the wind blows, leaves unfurl
a little differently.

From New England Review (Vol. 38, No. 3)



Reading | April 12, 2022