Longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of "the way memory gets up after someone has died and starts walking." These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died ("civility," "language," "the future," "Mother's blue dress") and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living.
About the Author
Born in Detroit, Michigan to Taiwanese immigrants, Victoria Chang was educated at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Stanford Business School and holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She is the author of five books of poetry, including Circle; Salvinia Molesta; and The Boss, which received a PEN Center USA Literary Award as well as a California Book Award. Her children's picture book, Is Mommy? was named a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Southern California with her family and serves as the Program Chair of Antioch's Low-Residency MFA Program.