How to Not Be Afraid of Everything

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Product Details
$24.95  $23.20
Alice James Books
Publish Date
5.98 X 9.06 X 0.25 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author
Jane Wong's poems can be found in Best American Poetry 2015, POETRY, American Poetry Review, Third Coast, AGNI, and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Hedgebrook, Artist Trust, and Bread Loaf. She is the author of Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.

2019 Alice James Books Award Editor's Choice
Longlisted for the 2022 Pen/Voelcker Award in Poetry
Shortlisted for the 2023 PNBA Book Awards in Poetry

"Wong (Overpour) explores loss, grief, migration, colonization, and alienation in her searching and resilient second collection. ... Wong's powerful poems draw the reader's attention and insist the audience not look away."
--Publishers Weekly

"Wong's visceral and defiant second full-length collection weaves through rage and remembrance, immigrant experience and identity, and ceases to falter in intensity, imagery, and originality."
--Jessica Gigot, Tinderbox Poetry

"There's a cornucopia between the covers of Jane Wong's new collection How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, plentiful with opportunities for emulation and wholly deserving of homage. I will be feasting on the book for years to come."
--Julie Marie Wade, The Rumpus

"Composed around central themes of migration and loss, grief and alienation, How to Not Be Afraid of Anything grapples with immigrant identities as made relational to histories past and present."
--New England Review

"An electric thread of fear lives in [Wong's] lines, with a clear and defiant will to if not master it then learn how to best live with it. 'I repeat: I will not be afraid / that the world is about power. / My ghosts fill me with feathers, / my lungs: a mane unplucked.'"
--Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe

"How to Not Be Afraid of Everything is a triumph of formal ingenuity and in the hallucinatory intensity of the imagery throughout. All the more impressive is Wong's fusing of that ingenuity with her exploration of her identity. ... Wong's new book compels us to remember that behind the broad designation "Asian American" is an infinite range of specific, distinct historical experiences."
--Paul Scott Stanfield, Ploughshares Blog

"Jane Wong's aptly titled second book offers a vivid portrait of Chinese immigrant life in the United States through an array of poetic forms, surprising metaphors, and images that hit with startling resonance."
--Ryo Yamaguchi, Harriet Books

"Jane Wong makes a family's immigrant legacy visceral in piercing, deft language that can't be dodged or forgotten once read. Formally diverse and inventive, taut lines serve us images and insights that aren't easily digested about the brutal blessings that come with split inheritances from the homeland and 'the frontier.' These hardy poems faithfully recount and recover no matter how taxing this may be. What a searing paean to the living and the ghosts that both haunt and make anything possible! The title? Wong knows. She knows."
--Kamilah Aisha Moon

"Jane Wong delivers a spellbinding knockout of a book. You will hunger for all the beautiful ways we can break bread together and with our ghosts. You will hunger for families both blood and chosen. These treasured poems are a most memorable exploration into what threads us together and what might break us. I promise you will nod your head yes, yes, YES--even when the speaker inquires at the end, '...are you hungry, awake, astonished enough?'"
--Aimee Nezhukumatathil

"Jane Wong is a poet who hears the past breathing inside the present, inside the body, every shivering-alive sense. This immensely moving book is a lyrical reckoning with the colossal losses of modern Chinese history; these poems simultaneously inhabit contemporary immigrant life in the U.S. with uncompromising compassion. Instead of a linear document, Wong embraces collage, lacunae, and a kaleidoscopic questioning of what refuses both forgetting and easy remembering--what pulses beneath the amnesiac surface with shimmering fierceness."
--Chen Chen