Victoria Chang


Writer and editor Victoria Chang earned a BA in Asian studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in Asian studies from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford University, and an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her collections of poetry include Circle (2005), winner of the Crab Orchard Review Award Series in Poetry; Salvinia Molesta (2008); The Boss (2013); and Barbie Chang (2017). Her poems have been published in the Kenyon Review, Poetry, the Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry 2005. In 2017, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Chang is the editor of the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004). In addition to editing, she writes children's books and teaches in Antioch University’s MFA program. She lives in Southern California with her family. Source

Excerpt from "Obit" [Empathy]

Empathy—died sometime before

January 20, 2017. The gate vanished 

but we don’t know when. The doorbell

vanished. The trains stopped moving.

Someone stole the North Pole sign. I

am you, and you, and you. But there

are so many obstacles between us. I

can never feel my mother’s illness or

my father’s dementia. The black notes

on the score are only representations

of sound, the keys must knock certain

strings which are made of steel, steel

is made of iron and carbon from the

earth. Why do we make things like a

piano that try to represent beauty or

pain? Why must we always draw what

we see? Just copy it, my mother used

to say about drawing. The artist is only

visiting pain, imagining it. We praise

the artist, not the apple, not the apple’s

shadow which is murdered slowly.

There must be some way of drawing

a picture so that it doesn’t become an






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Death & Loss


Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered