Poetry / Wendy Chin-Tanner
:: Parent ::
Not pomegranate, but persimmon, spotted, so easily bruised, a child’s finger- nail could pierce you through.
:: And Not Look Away (Brooklyn, 1985) ::
The pale green of the trees that stood in front of the crumbling brownstone that June. Later, their leaves would darken in the leaden heat and the asphalt would soften and return to tar under the sun’s sorrowful gaze. Mornings, the sidewalk would begin the day gray, wet from the super’s hose. By noon it would be baked so that the cement glittered, gleaming like shattered glass. The world seemed to die each afternoon and nothing ever happened and nothing ever moved, not air, not cigarette smoke, not the water that held the china girl afloat in my room, black hair, silk robe, and cut sleeves flowing elegantly, drowning, entombed beneath a dusty plastic globe. At the kitchen table, the women sat saying the same things over and over so that their words began to rhyme and sound like song. In dreams, I held my head under until the surface grew still, and all I could do was make my eyes see and not blink, and not look away.
:: Portrait ::
Maddy draws me— a head, a pair of boobs, and beneath, a womb where the egg, a speck of black pen, lays.
:: Mercury in Virgo ::
night devours sleep the hours surfeited glut drenched time sweat slick skin sheet metal rainwater shine I walk widdershins warding off terrors thought crimes later at the end of a dream the stars in a cloudless sky form a filigree above a skein of swans honk and echo fragments of the past its light can still prick stinging rapidly moving eyes
From the writer
:: Account ::
This cycle of poems, some of which are included in my forthcoming second poetry collection, Anyone Will Tell You, is preoccupied with an investigation of form and its subversion as an expression of the relationships between gender and identity, parent and child, self and other, the personal and the political, human beings and the environment, and the earthly and the cosmic. Within that investigation, I started out working mostly with blank verse couplets, but then, in conjunction with the birth of my second daughter, I began to write primarily on my iPhone’s Notes app and developed a new form consisting of three syllables per line and three lines per stanza, which I think of as trisyllabic triplets or 3x3s. Eschewing punctuation and most capitalizations, on a technical level, I discovered that 3x3s are highly fluid, as elisions work with and rely on the rhythm of the English language to expand the possibilities of meaning from line to line. I am also interested in how the exigencies of gender, parenting, the experience of the postpartum maternal body, and the interaction of technology with those conditions are borne out in the execution and expression of different formal traditions.
Wendy Chin-Tanner is the author of the poetry collections Turn (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards, and Anyone Will Tell You, (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). She is a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal and poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Some of her poems can be found at RHINO Poetry, Denver Quarterly, The Rumpus, Vinyl Poetry, The Collagist, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Mays Anthology of Oxford and Cambridge. A former academic specializing in sociology and cultural studies, Wendy was born and raised in NYC and educated at Cambridge University, UK. She is the mother of two daughters and the proud daughter of immigrants.