Not so dear Jenny
By Jennifer Tseng
2016 Boom Winner
“Like you, I died & became / English words.” The speaker of Jennifer Tseng’s Not so dear Jenny is a speaker deeply attuned to both the harm and the healing that language can do. Drawing on language from a father/phantom’s letters, the daughter/darer of these poems reconstructs adolescence, deconstructs diaspora, and gorgeously makes song out of sorrow. These poems sing and sting. A father’s appeal becomes a daughter’s appall; university morphs into universal; Diane turns out to be Diana; to remember is to “member it again / & again,” to “dream the embers of a hooded / nation into place”; and two people can and do share a face—“Every morning I see / You mourning in the mirror.” Jennifer Tseng reminds us of the power of address, the dangers and the liberations of the epistolary. This chapbook made me weep and ravenously wonder.
Nancy Andrews and her amazing group of student animators at COA created this beautiful animated poem of If All Hinges Upon Oneself. The poem appears in Jennifer Tseng’s chapbook, Not so dear Jenny (Bateau Press, 2017)
Order Not so dear Jenny from Bateau Press now. Publication date: Feb 11th, 2017.
About the Author: Jennifer Tseng
Jennifer Tseng is the author of two award-winning poetry books The Man With My Face and Red Flower, White Flower which features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen. Her debut novel, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness was a finalist for the New England Book Award and the PEN Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction. She currently teaches for the Fine Arts Work Center’s summer program, FAWC’s online writing program 24PearlSt, and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing.