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‘Dear Memory’: Victoria Chang’s epistolary grief

Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang

This week on The Write Question, Lauren talks with poet and memoirist Victoria Chang, author Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief (Milkweed Editions). In this hybrid book of poetry, memoir, and visual art, Chang explores the grief—and curiosity—she feels alongside the loss of her mother, and with her, her history and the knowledge of her ancestry. 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. Her 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; it was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. She is also the author of a children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee and named a New York Times Notable Book, and a middle grade novel, Love, Love. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA program.

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)

Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeannette Winterson (Vintage Books)

The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso (Picador)

H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald (Grove Press)

Lauren Korn recommends:

OBIT by Victoria Chang (Copper Canyon Press)

Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen (Omnidawn)

Grief Sequence by Prageeta Sharma (Wave Poetry)

A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure by Hoa Nguyen (Wave Poetry)

Notes on Grief” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in The New Yorker and now published in book form by Knopf Publishing Group

The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Peter Hoag, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at iamthemollruss.com and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now the host of Montana Public Radio’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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