An Invocation: The Poetics of Haunting
Carlina Duan, Christine Shan Shan Hou, Muriel Leung & Jane Wong
An Invocation: The Poetics of Haunting

How does history – particularly the history of war, colonialism, and marginalization – impact the work of Asian American poets across time and space? How does language act as a haunting space of intervention and activism? Poet and scholar Jane Wong raised these questions with her digital multimedia project, The Poetics of Haunting. For the last workshop event of 2017, Wong and poets Carlina Duan, Christine Shan Shan Hou, and Muriel Leung read work and share images that boldly invoke historical and familial ghosts so that we may feel their presence.


Carlina Duan’s debut collection of poetry I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) wrestles with the growing pains of Chinese American girlhood and racial consciousness. Franny Choi writes, “In I Wore My Blackest Hair, [Duan’s] speaker navigates diaspora and its incumbent losses — of family, of language, of face — with unflinching care, revealing complex textures and concrete magic.” Carlina is a 2016 Fulbright grant recipient and an MFA Candidate at Vanderbilt University. Her work has been published in Uncommon Core, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Berkeley Poetry Review, among others. Check out her poems about her father, silence, and the echo of “Who Let the Dogs Out” on a schoolbus in The Margins.

A garden, an intimate and intense look at being a lonely girl, and a shape-shifting feminist spiritual quest of imagined histories, Christine Shan Shan Hou’s Community Garden for Lonely Girls (Gramma Press, 2017) creates strange and mutable new generational mythologies. The Poetry Project writes, “Community Garden for Lonely Girls invites readers of all gender persuasions to momentarily suspend the Enlightenment imperative to cultivate their individual plots and embrace the feeling of being disposable — and disposed into — a mass flowerpot.” Work from Community Garden for Lonely Girls appears in Jane Wong’s Poetics of Haunting Digital Project: “We talk over each other all the time. We exchange ghosts in the details.” Christine is a poet and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her previous publications include “I’m Sunlight” (The Song Cave 2016), C O N C R E T E S O U N D (2011) a collaborative artists’ book with artist Audra Wolowiec, and Accumulations (Publication Studio 2010).

Muriel Leung’s Bone Confetti (Noemi Press, 2016) is an arresting account of loss and the unresolved nature of mourning and making art. Publisher’s Weekly calls it, “an elegant, elegiac debut collection set in a haunted and highly ritualized space.” Cathy Park Hong writes, “Leung’s poems can be unbearably intimate yet also epic, traversing into the speculative and gothic, as she animates her grief into a macabre and exquisitely haunted underworld…”; Hyperallergic writes “She meets the violence of her grief with poems populated by holograms, robots, and ghosts.” A Pushcart Prize nominated writer, her writing can be found or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, and others. She is a contributing editor to the Bettering American Poetry anthology and is also Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at University of Southern California. She is from Queens, NY.

Jane Wong is a poet, scholar and the creator of the Poetics of Haunting digital project. Inspired by her scholarly manuscript on the of ghosts in contemporary Asian American poetry, Going Toward the Ghost, the project grew into a TED Talk, a digital collection of haunting poems, a record of with conversations with Bhanu Kapil and Sally Wen Mao, and a piece written in conversation with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s archive. Of her powerful debut poetry collection, Overpour (Action Books, 2016) Full Stop writes, “There isn’t [a page] without arresting imagery and a suggestion of forceful, generative life.” A former Kundiman and Fulbright Fellow, Wong is an Assistant Professor at Western Washington University. Check out her poem from Overpour, “Pastoral Power” and her conversation with Sally Wen Mao about the book in The Margins.


*The space is wheelchair accessible. Direct elevator from ground floor to 6th floor.
*We strongly encourage all participants of the space/event to be scent-free.
If you all have any other specific questions about accessibility, please email Tiffany Le at with any questions on reserving priority seating.

This event will be livestreamed on the Asian American Writers’ Facebook page.

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An Invocation: The Poetics of Haunting

Carlina Duan, Christine Shan Shan Hou, Muriel Leung & Jane Wong
Monday, December 18, 2017
7:00 PM
Asian American Writers Workshop
112 W. 27th Street
New York New York 10001
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