— Award-winning poet, Tina Chang will share her poetry in a free reading at Lecture Theatre Two, SVG Community College, Villa campus at 5:30 p.m on Saturday.
The San Francisco Chronicle has described her poetry as “a vast, beautifully fashioned mosaic of indelible, variegated pieces”. Publishers Weekly has also described her poetry as “ambitious, yet accessible”.
For Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, poetry is not “lofty”. As a matter of fact, one of her chief goals is to “demystify the role of the poet”.
Chang, who is of Chinese descent and was raised in New York City, is the first woman to be named the Poet Laureate of Brooklyn.
A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution. Laureates receive a stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an on-going series of poetry readings and lectures, as well as a charge to promote poetry. Chang said that as the Brooklyn Poet Laureate, she wants to create a website spotlighting poets from other boroughs.
Her interest in poetry began from a very early age. Chang was born in Oklahoma to Chinese immigrants and moved to New York when she was 1 year old, so her father could be treated for liver cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“I started questioning even at a very young age, well, what is language?” she said. “What is the role of words?”
After pursuing a string of English-related jobs, Chang enrolled in a master of fine arts programme in poetry at Columbia in 1995. Her first book “Half-Lit Houses,” a collection of poems tracing the life of a girl who loses her father back to Hunan, China in the 1930s and ’40s, was published in 2004. She is also the author of the poetry collection “Of Gods & Strangers”. Chang has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers, and the Van Lier Foundation among others.
She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is an international faculty member at the City University at Hong Kong.
U.S. Embassy Bridgetown will host the Chang from Sept. 25- 27 on a three-island tour of Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Chang will showcase her poetry during evening public events, which will highlight the diversity and modernity of American literature, as well as allow her to share her opinions on poetry’s relevance and give insight on her creative process.
This series of public readings will also help the U.S. Embassy recruit candidates for the International Writers’ program (IWP), the Department of State’s premier exchange programme for creative writers.