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The insomniac padding of a mother’s slippers strain yet amplify the nightly silence of a home. As poet JinJin Xu writes of the piece, “our desperation to be heard by the other, to hear the other” illuminates intimate scenes of a daughter’s imagination and a mother’s imagined presence. Playing with light and dark, glitching and cut offs, the poem gives physical rhythm to a self’s reaching for what does not/yet exist.

In this fifth installment of the Transpacific Literary Projects’s Slipper folio, JinJin Xu’s quiet poem echoes with the ritualistic footsteps of an absent presence and its untranslatable silence.


Click images to enlarge.

JinJin Xu grew up in Shanghai and for now finds herself in Brooklyn. She spent the past year traveling across four continents on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship writing collaboratively with migrant and refugee mothers. She is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, where she received the Lillian Vernon Fellowship and serves as assistant fiction editor of The Washington Square Review. Other honors include fellowships from NYU’s Production Lab and the Flaherty Seminar for experimental and documentary films. Her work has been published in Women's Studies Quarterly, The Common, Millennium Film Journal, Nasty Women Poets, and was shortlisted for the Cosmonauts Avenue Nonfiction Prize and the Disquiet Poetry prize.

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