Jennifer S. Cheng

Jennifer S. Cheng’s hybrid collection Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems, was chosen by Bhanu Kapil as co-winner of the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Award. Cheng is also the author of House A, selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize, and Invocation: An Essay, an image-text chapbook published by New Michigan Press. Her poetry, lyric essays, and critical writing appear in Tin House, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, The Offing, Entropy, Jacket2, Guernica, and elsewhere. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Hong Kong and received fellowships and awards from Brown University, the University of Iowa, San Francisco State University, Bread Loaf, Kundiman, and the Academy of American Poets. Having grown up in Texas and Hong Kong, she lives in San Francisco.

Books by Jennifer S. Cheng


Chosen by Bhanu Kapil
for the Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Award

Paperback, 140 pp. Pub date: May 2018
Cover art by Maude Tanswai

$14 includes shipping in the US

Mixing fable and fact, extraordinary and ordinary, Jennifer S. Cheng’s hybrid collection, Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems, draws on various Chinese mythologies about women, particularly that of Chang’E (the Lady in the Moon), uncovering the shadow stories of our myths — with the belief that there is always an underbelly. Moon explores bewilderment and shelter, destruction and construction, unthreading as it rethreads, shedding as it collects.

“Each of the voices in Jennifer S. Cheng’s Moon speaks as if she’s ‘the last girl on earth.’ Alone in a vast, constantly changing Universe, she asks urgent questions: ‘What does it mean to forego the shoreline…’ ‘And what does one give up, in order to be a hero?’ ‘What lives are eroded from the sky in a murmuring blaze?’ In a world where cities have been ruined and recovered, homes destroyed and rebuilt, nests woven and abandoned, oceans crossed and recrossed, narratives cut into pieces and reassembled, the girl asks, ‘Where is my rock?’ What distinguishes this study of the Self in proximity to Other and to the World is the way Cheng refuses to tell stories and instead, insists on asking them. With curiosity and attention, Moon shines its light on inquiry as art, asking as making. In the tradition of Fanny Howe’s poetics of bewilderment, Cheng gives us a poetics of possibility.” (Jennifer Tseng) “Cheng’s newest poetry collection bravely tests language and the beautiful boundaries of body and geography. This is a rare poet whose elegant poems create a lovely convergence of geometries and mythologies into something akin to ‘an ocean fever to break between…teeth.’ The assembly of ‘insect script’ in these worlds where ‘the sky becomes a chilled pomelo’ makes for a rich and deeply satisfying read.” (Aimee Nezhukumatathil)