Join us on Tuesday, May 3 at 7pm PT for a pre-publication celebration of Shelley Wong's As She Appears with Monica Sok!
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Praise for As She Appears
“‘As a girl, I never / saw a woman / who looked like me,’ Shelley Wong writes in this steadfast and assured debut, ‘I had to invent her.’ And it’s this very faith in self-manifestation that makes these poems accrue towards bold, prescient, and lasting architectures of being and feeling; they not only depict but think themselves into existence, which make them more than the sum of their parts, more than just an invention of ‘hers’ or ‘womanhood,’ but a quietly profound indictment of contemporary culture. And yet, what’s most indelible about Wong’s circumventing and vexed forays into the big questions, is her careful and tender rendering of our joys.“—Ocean Vuong, author of Time Is A Mother
“AS SHE APPEARS is visionary in more than one sense. It’s a riveting exploration of how one’s sense of self—not just as the perceived, but also as perceiver—is affected by the way one is represented, or not represented. Shelley Wong’s poems are heady, frank, kaleidoscopic, refractive, sensual, wondrous. They unsettle the distinctions we assume we can make between viewers—whether voyeur, consumer, spectator, or witness. I found myself wanting to linger in their pleasures and challenges. I started re-reading this collection as soon as I’d finished it.” —Mary Szybist, National Book Award-winning author of Incarnadine
About As She Appears
In AS SHE APPEARS, Shelley Wong turns our gaze towards that which we might not see at first glance. Following the end of a relationship, a woman crosses over and embodies the expanse of desire and self-love as she learns to come into her own again. In flickers of clarity, Wong’s poems travel through private museum collections, a Madonna-Whitney childhood in suburban California, perfumed fashion runways, to a Fire Island summer. They commune with the ecstatic joys of Pride dances and late-night Chinatown meals, conversations with Frida Kahlo, and an always-coming spring that “insists we can build the world / around us again.” Writing in the space where so many do not appear, this lush and courageous debut invites queer women of color to arrive in love, exactly as they are. What results is a celebration of the quiet, ephemeral, and strong.
About Shelley Wong
Shelley Wong is the author of AS SHE APPEARS (YesYes Books, May 2022), winner of the 2019 Pamet River Prize, and the chapbook RARE BIRDS (Diode Editions, 2017). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry 2021, Kenyon Review, and New England Review. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and Vermont Studio Center. Currently, she is an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts and lives in San Francisco.
About Monica Sok
Monica Sok is a Khmer poet and the daughter of refugees. She is the author of A Nail the Evening Hangs On (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). She teaches poetry as a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and is working on her next books of poetry and prose. She lives in Oakland, CA.
Shelley Wong's debut, As She Appears, foregrounds queer women of color in their being and becoming. Following the end of a relationship that was marked by silence, a woman crosses over and embodies the expanse of desire and self-love. Other speakers transform the natural world and themselves, using art and beauty as a means of sanctuary and subversion.
In her debut collection, Monica Sok uses poetry to reshape a family's memory about the Khmer Rouge regime--memory that is both real and imagined--according to a child of refugees. Driven by myth-making and fables, the poems examine the inheritance of the genocide and the profound struggles of searing grief and PTSD.