"When I was about twelve years old, I made this quilt as a gift for my father. I rarely had spending money but my mother taught me how to sew which helped give me a sense of agency. My father had a funny habit of giving gifts back to me, years after I’d given them to him. He did it with excitement, as if he were giving me a gift for the first time, something I’d always dreamed of having. In this case, it turned out to be true because when he died, his wife (not my mother) was the keeper of his things. I never had the opportunity to sit among them & take a memento but because he ‘gifted’ it to me years before his death, I have this quilt..."
Thanks to Matthew Baker for including the story behind this quilt on his lovely site "Early Work," featuring childhood art by grown-up artists. You can read the rest of my piece & see more pix over at Early Work.
So many thanks to the wonderful students & faculty of OSU-Cascades's low residency MFA program for hosting me as their Distinguished Visiting Writer this spring. It was such a treat to spend a week with them at the Caldera Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Gray Campbell for patiently teaching me how to paddle-board while taking pictures of my attempts at the same time!
The Passion of Woo & Isolde is a Firecracker Award finalist! Thanks to CLMP for including it in this dazzling line-up & to Rose Metal Press for believing in my book from the beginning.
I'm thrilled to be the Visiting Artist at the New Hampshire Institute of Art this week. I'll be visiting classes, talking about hybridity, Not so dear Jenny, The Passion of Woo & Isolde + & giving a reading February 12, at 5:30pm in the Rotunda.
Many thanks to writer Tim Horvath for inviting me.
Photo of the Emma B. French Hall Rotunda by John Phelan
Paper Darts' Favorite 2017 Small-Press Short Story Collections (Plus a Few Others) Thanks to Alyssa Bluhm & Paper Darts for including The Passion of Woo & Isolde. "This is a tiny collection filled with tiny flash fiction, tiny magical realism, and tiny characters—but the stories have a big, lasting impact. Each piece ends up in a different place than it began, warranting endless rereads to figure out how you got there: in "Past Lives," a man's marriage splits when he realizes he was someone else's wife in a past life; in "Zealots," the title characters use their cat's spirit to solve arguments; in "Last Words," two characters literally draw their own paths of recovery. Tseng's collection won this year's Rose Metal Press short chapbook contest, judged by Amelia Gray, and the comparison couldn't be more accurate. If you love Amelia Gray, you'll love Jennifer Tseng."
I confess: What Ruth Asawa & I have in common, my
literary crush, a book I think people should be talking about, cat-petting rituals & other things in my TINY SPILLS over at Cosmonauts Avenue.
So thrilled to see The Passion of Woo & Isolde on Entropy Magazine's "Best Fiction of 2017" list with MARIE NDIAYE & a slew of other writers I admire!
The JENNY reading I gave at Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room is now on YouTube. You can watch/listen to the entire Fall 2017 Boston Originals gang, including Susan Barba, Adrienne Raphel, Carol Weston & Lillian-Yvonne Bertram & more. Each reading is about 10-12 min. & it's easy to find your reader if you know what they look like. Thanks to Christina Davis for curating this series & to everyone at the Woodberry Room who helped make it happen.
Many thanks to multi genre writer & translator Idra Novey for taking the time to interview me about The Passion of Woo & Isolde for Literary Hub. We talked about the challenges of reading & writing in the current political climate, anti-nostalgia poems in human form & more...
"In any genre, the sentences of poet and prose writer Jennifer Tseng have an alluring precision. Her knowledge of multiple languages informs both the stories she tells and how she tells them. In her recently released work, The Passion of Woo and Isolde, selected by Amelia Gray for the Rose Metal Press Chapbook Prize, Tseng subverts the expectations of what a story about multilingual cultural-crossing characters may contain. Each of the elegantly restrained stories contained in Woo and Isolde returns to the question of the unsayable."
In honor of The Passion of Woo & Isolde, I shared a mini-syllabus for my "Writing the Forbidden" class over at Entropy Magazine. Includes both fiction & poetry versions. To sign up for my online class visit 24PearlSt. Paintings by Amanda Tseng, used with permission.
Thanks to Jennifer MacBain-Stephens for her generous & thoughtful review of Not so dear Jenny up at Agape Editions. "Tseng’s ability to layer meaning shines..."
Gabrielle Bellot interviewed me about The Passion of Woo & Isolde for the Los Angeles Review of Books. "The book's brevity is deceptive; it feels far longer than it is, as its little pieces seem to illumine so much, their tonal atmosphere slipping from lovely and ludic to lugubrious and painful. Tseng's new collection, each piece of which can be read separately or as part of a thematically collected whole, pushes at the limits of length, creating characters who, in brief, yet lingering pieces, quietly deconstruct what it means to be queer, to be gendered, to be in exile, to love, and to lose."
Thrilled to have two Not so dear Jenny poems & an interview up on Foundry Journal, & honored that the poems are paired with this lovely photograph by Ben Giles. I've long been a fan of Giles's collages. Many thanks to Foundry editor Elizabeth Onusko.
The Chicago Review of Books's Timothy Moore interviewed me about the making of Woo & Isolde, books I love, why I became a writer, secrets I keep from myself, what I'm reading & other things...
I was invited to write a little piece for The Next Best Book Blog: Where Writers Write & I ended up writing about my cat.
Thanks to Susie Rodarme over at Book Riot for including Woo & Isolde in "8 Small Press Books to Check Out in August." Features micro reviews of books from Catapult, Dzanc Books, Rose Metal Press & more.
A big THANK YOU to Nina MacLaughlin for this beautiful little write-up of Woo & Isolde in The Boston Globe. Thanks also to my pal Emma Young's mom Terre whose keen eye spotted it in the book section & to Emma for sending me pictures to prove it.
I made a Woo & Isolde themed playlist for Large-Hearted Boy: Book Notes, featuring Maria Callas, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Erasure & many more. Thanks to David Gutowski for giving me an excuse to write about Madame Butterfly, odd couples, body snatchers, coming out to my father etc.
Portrait of Maria Callas by Cecil Beaton, 1957.
THE PASSION OF WOO & ISOLDE
pubs today! (8/8)
Buy yours from Rose Metal Press.
"Often, flash fiction collections come to us like a box of light bulbs, meant to be sifted through and shuffled about, fit into various sockets. But The Passion of Woo & Isolde comes to us as a sparkling set, doing the rare business of working singularly and with each of the three parts and in the triptych as a while. Together, they light the whole room."
-from judge Amelia Gray's Introduction
Feminist Press's "Staff Picks: Summer Reading" is a list after my own heart. It includes old & new favorites (like Tove Jansson's THE SUMMER BOOK & Catherine Lacey's THE ANSWERS) + books I have in my TBR pile (like Jenny Zhang's SOUR HEART). Many thanks to staff member Crystal for including MAYUMI. Read the full list here: SUMMER READING.
The Passion of Woo & Isolde is now available for PRE-ORDER! This is a 42-page limited edition chapbook with a letterpress cover.
Cover design, layout setting & letterpress printing by Rebecca Saraceno & Eli Epstein with Abigail Beckel & Kathleen Rooney. Thanks to Eli Epstein & Union Press for use of their ink, equipment & expertise.
Special thanks to contest judge Amelia Gray for her sparkling introduction.✨
Thanks to the sexy & talented Maceo Senna for making this stunning book trailer! Special thanks to Amanda Tseng for the evocative character portraits. <3 <3 <3
Pre-orders in July via Rose Metal Press.
The Passion of Woo & Isolde pubs 8/8!
Thanks, editors Wendy Chen & Anna Mebel, for featuring two Not so dear Jenny poems in the premier issue of Figure 1. & congratulations on your new digital poetry journal!
Poets can send 3-5 poems to thefigureone at gmail dot com.
I wrote about Björk's "I Remember You" for Coldfront Magazine. You can listen to her sing this classic love song, written by Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer, while you read.
Three Not so dear Jenny poems are up at Poetry Northwest!
Image by Alfred Stieglitz. Many thanks to poet & editor Bill Carty.
Not so dear Jenny, poems made with my Chinese father's English letters, & winner of the Bateau Press Boom Chapbook Contest, is out! Many thanks to Amy Borezo of Shelter Bookworks for the gorgeous letterpress cover, to Chen Chen for the beautiful comment, & to the magical staff at Bateau. Order a copy from Bateau Press.
My poem "The Riddle of Morro Rock" has been shortlisted for the Berfrois Poetry Prize. This year's prize will "focus on original poems exploring political themes, literature as an act of resistance against the growing cultures of racism, misogyny, persecution of religious groups, and economic inequality."
My manuscript The Passion of Woo & Isolde has won Rose Metal Press's Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest, judged by Amelia Gray & will be published in August, 2017! You can pre-order copies from Rose Metal. Image by Amanda Tseng.
My manuscript Not so dear Jenny, poems made with my Chinese father's English letters, has won the Bateau Press Chapbook Contest & will be published on February 11, 2017! You can pre-order copies from Bateau.
Read a foody MAYUMI excerpt over at the fabulous Edible Vineyard. Image by Katie Eberts.