Wednesday, February 08, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Timothy Yu

Today's Poet Spotlight is Timothy Yu, who is the author of three chapbooks of poetry: 15 Chinese Silences (Tinfish, 2009), Journey to the West (Barrow Street, 2006, winner of the Vincent Chin Chapbook Prize from Kundiman) and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger.

He is also the author of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford University Press), which won the Book Award in Literary Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies.

I've been honored to call him a good friend for almost a decade, first knowing him through his poetry then meeting him in person at the Association for Asian American Studies Conference in Chicago in 2008 as we discussed Asian American poetry. He's has an exceptional gift for distilling many of our concerns as Asian American writers into readable and challenging essays.

His first full-length book of poetry 100 Chinese Silences came out in 2016, which I'd been anticipating for quite some time. If the poet Li-Young Lee is associated with Chicago, then Timothy Yu has surely stood out as one of the finest poets of Madison, in my personal estimation. I admire his work deeply enough that I included him as a guest character in my award-winning book DEMONSTRA in 2013.

How he juggles it all consistently amazes me, but I appreciate his warmth, humanity and wit, and encourage all of my readers and students to read his work when you get the chance.  I look forward to his continuing journey as a poet and kindred soul in this strange cosmos.

His work has appeared in Poetry, Cordite Poetry Review, SHAMPOO, Mantis, Lantern Review, and Kartika Review. He is associate professor of English and Asian American studies and director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You can visit Timothy Yu at

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