Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief
by Victoria Chang
“Groundbreaking . . . Chang’s lyrical experiment memorably evokes an individual family’s time capsule and an artist’s timeless yearning to shape carbon dust into incandescent gem.”—NPR
From poet Victoria Chang, a collection of literary letters and mementos on the art of remembering across generations.
For Victoria Chang, memory “isn’t something that blooms, but something that bleeds internally.” It is willed, summoned, and dragged to the surface. The remembrances in this collection of letters are founded in the fragments of stories her mother shared reluctantly, and the silences of her father, who first would not and then could not share more. They are whittled and sculpted from an archive of family relics: a marriage license, a letter, a visa petition, a photograph. And, just as often, they are built on the questions that can no longer be answered.
Dear Memory is not a transcription but a process of simultaneously shaping and being shaped, knowing that when a writer dips their pen into history, what emerges is poetry. In carefully crafted collages and missives on trauma, loss, and Americanness, Victoria Chang grasps on to a sense of self that grief threatens to dissipate.
In letters to family, past teachers, and fellow poets, as the imagination, Dear Memory offers a model for what it looks like to find ourselves in our histories.
Hardcover | 160 pages | Milkweed Editions | 2021