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The Trees Witness Everything

Victoria Chang

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Poetry

The forthcoming title from award-winning Asian American poet Victoria Chang, whose star is rising.

A lover of strict form, best-selling poet Victoria Chang turns to compact Japanese waka, powerfully innovating on tradition while continuing her pursuit of one of life's hardest questions: how to let go.

In The Trees Witness Everything, Victoria Chang reinvigorates language by way of concentration, using constraint to illuminate and free the wild interior. Largely composed in various Japanese syllabic forms called 'wakas,' each poem is shaped by pattern and count. This highly original work innovates inside the lineage of great poets including W.S. Merwin, whose poem titles are repurposed as frames and mirrors for the text, stitching past and present in complex dialogue. Chang depicts the smooth, melancholic isolation of the mind while reaching outward to name - with reverence, economy and whimsy - the ache of wanting, the hawk and its shadow, our human urge to hide the minute beneath the light.

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Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang's latest book of poetry is The Trees Witness Everything. Her nonfiction book, Dear Memory, was published in 2021. OBIT, her prior book of poems was named a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Must-Read Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award. It was also longlisted for a National Book Award and named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and lives in Los Angeles and is a faculty member within Antioch's low-residency MFA Program.

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