Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Four Way Books Poet Tina Chang On Why She Writes

Tina Chang explained to Poets and Writers in March of 2010 why she writes.

"I was sent to live in Taiwan at the age of two after the sudden death of my father. Uncles and aunts rushed through the rooms to feed me, bathe me, teach me. I was both confused and curious about words as they bounced in the delicate bowl of my mouth, meaning rising. This recollection of language is at the core of who I am, why I work, why I write. I write in order to capture what is no longer there: sweet ghost of minutes, mist covering the thatched roofs, vendors calling out their wares to the windows, typhoon rattling the red door of my childhood home in summer.

Many years later, I am a poet trying to recreate, again, sound, image, place, mood, the fine texture of things. I am driven to grasp the unnamable or to get to a sensual site that has vanished. The Taiwan of my past no longer exists. Taipei, the capital, is now a bustling district, city of smog, avenues clogged with progress and industry.

When I began writing poems, I was struck by how much a poem looked like the physical structure of a house. Each word seemed like a window, each comma a blade of grass, each line was a slow locomotive passing through a quiet town. So, in my imagination, I constructed a permanent place where I could live even if the moments were fleeting."

To read more of the article which is now online, click here. To read some of Chang's poems and to order copies of her books, visit Four Way Books online.