Dorothy Chan


Dorothy Chan (she/they) is an American poet, educator, and editor born to Chinese immigrants in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Growing up as often the only Asian girl in her classes attracted Chan to traveling the country during her time in higher education, earning an English BA from Cornell University in New York, a poetry MFA from Arizona State University, and a poetry PhD from Florida State University. After college, Chan joined Hobart magazine as its poetry editor, and they are now the co-founder and head editor of Honey Literary, a journal focused on BIPOC writers. She is the author of four collections of poetry inspired by her experiences as an Asian American woman and enjoys exploring themes of sex, fetishization, and food and its relationship to cultural identity. In 2019, Chan became an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, where she currently resides. They love excess in art and, specifically, when poetry tells a story and has at least five words in the title.


Photo Credit: Bill Hoepner

Triple Sonnet for My Mother’s Full-On Soap Opera Fantasy

I grew up watching soap operas

with my mother: the full-on fantasy

of white women in low-cut tops

competing over who could go the lowest

before a [  ] in jewel tones

in the middle of daytime TV,

because these are your problems

when you’re a retired movie star cougar

relocated to the tall pine suburbs

of modeling agencies and magazines

that rival Vogue, and more power to you

for dating the young con man who pursued

your daughter five episodes ago,

but hey, you were going through a divorce,


and that’s now worlds away in your times

of evil twins and suburban scandals

and ex-husbands rising from the dead

and brain transplants for your long-lost sister,

and onto husband number eleven,

making me reminisce on simpler times

when Liz Taylor married the construction worker,

and oh, you’re just so glamorous

in your slip dresses and your furs

and your houses straight out of HGTV

catalogs and home renovation shows.

I grew up watching soap operas

with my mother, who grew up in Hong Kong,

wanting a dream house in America


my father ended up designing,

complete with the proper feng shui,

because when you’re Chinese, your house is on a hill,

the other properties bowing down:

protection against lighting attacking

your trees, protection against thieves—

What’s a bigger declaration of love

than building your beloved her dream house,

because she gave birth to your daughter

at the age of twenty-five, leaving her family

in Kowloon to join you in America.

I grew up watching my mom fill notebooks

of character dialogue, to learn English—

her fantasies of American life.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified)


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.