Photo: Margarita Corporan

Photo: Margarita Corporan

Shelley Wong is the author of the chapbook RARE BIRDS (Diode Editions). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, and Sycamore Review.

She is the recipient of a 2017 Pushcart Prize and fellowships and support from Kundiman, the MacDowell Colony, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, I-Park Foundation, Fire Island National Seashore, SPACE (Portland, ME), Fine Arts Work Center, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and Interdisciplinary Writers Lab. She holds an MFA from the Ohio State University and a BA from UC Berkeley.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working on her first full-length poetry collection.

 


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
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