Jenny Xie is a celebrated poet, and author of the National Book Award and PEN Open Book Award finalist, Eye Level: a meditation on the forces that moor us and those that set us in motion.
Xie’s soon-to-be-released second collection, The Rupture Tense, explores the reverberant and vexed experiences of diasporic homecoming, intergenerational memory transfer, state-enforced amnesia, public secrecies, and the psychic fallout of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
All Poetry Series, Create Your Own Series, and Super SAL subscribers receive a copy of The Rupture Tense, shipped to their doors by our partner bookstore. Please note: complimentary subscriptions and single tickets do not include the book.
Q&A with poet Jane Wong.
Shaped around moments of puncture and release, The Rupture Tense registers what leaks across the breached borders between past and future, background and foreground, silence and utterance. Across these poems, memory—whether historical, collective, or personal—stains and erodes. Xie voices what remains irreducible in our complex entanglements with familial ties, language, capitalism, and the histories in which we find ourselves lodged.
The collection begins with poems provoked by the photography of Li Zhensheng, whose negatives, hidden under his floorboards to avoid government seizure, provide one of the few surviving visual archives of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and concludes with an aching elegy for the poet’s grandmother, who took her own life shortly after the end of the Revolution. Xie records the aftershocks and long distances between those years and the present, echoing out toward the ongoing past and a trembling future.
Xie is also author of the 2017 chapbook, Nowhere to Arrive, which received the Drinking Gourd Prize. She has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Kundiman, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2020, she was awarded the Vilcek Prize in Creative Promise. She has taught at Princeton and NYU and is currently on faculty at Bard College.
Jane Wong, our Q&A moderator for the evening, is the author of two poetry collections: How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). Her debut memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, is forthcoming from Tin House in May 2023. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf, Hedgebrook, Willapa Bay, the Jentel Foundation, and others. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.