VIDA Reads with Writers — Wendy Xu!

What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran, by Shahrnush Parsipur (translated by Faridoun Farrokh), which is the first author-approved translation. It’s incredible.

What book popped for you in 2015?boywiththorn

Empty Chairs by Liu Xia (translated by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern), and Boy With Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis. Like, if these books didn’t also pop for you, I feel like you’re popping wrong.

Whose words do you return to regularly?

I go to Frank Lima‘s poems when I need words and am sick of my own. City Lights just put out his Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected last month. It’s a treasure from an overlooked genius.

Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?

Yes. I can’t wait for LOOK by Solmaz Sharif to come out later this year. I’m pining for it. I’m talking to it in my sleep.

What are you working on now? What can VIDA fans look forward to from you next?

I’ve been working on a book-length project of poetry and immigrant memory, tentatively titled Notes for an Opening. It feels colossal and unwieldy to me, and that’s exciting.


Wendy_XuWENDY XU is the author of You Are Not Dead (2013), and the forthcoming Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017), selected by Hoa Nguyen for the 2016 Ottoline Prize. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Poetry, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. In 2014, she was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Born in Shandong, China, in 1987, she currently lives and teaches in New York City.