Marilyn Chin and High School Prize Winners


MARILYN CHIN is a self-described activist poet. Her most recent book, Hard Love Province, is a testament to this unwavering dedication – and also a winner of the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Award for poetry, which honors books that confront racism and examine diversity. Chin’s work is fearless and pointed, humorous and heart-wrenching, all the while maintaining a deep and close engagement with the world. Born in Hong Kong as Mei Ling Chin, she was raised in Portland, Oregon as Marilyn, her transliterated name. In the biting poem “How I Got That Name,” she attributes this re-christening to her father’s obsession with Marilyn Monroe. Chin’s work is enriched and empowered by this racial and cultural double-consciousness.

Author of four books of poetry, Chin has also published a novel, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, translated the Chinese poet Ai Qing, and co-translated the Japanese poet Gōzō Yoshimasu. A graduate of U. Mass Amherst, and the Iowa Writers Workshop, Chin’s awards and fellowships include a Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, the Paterson Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship to Taiwan. She has taught classes and workshops worldwide, including a long stint at San Diego State University, where she also co-directed the MFA program. Recently, she took early retirement from SDSU to give more time to her writing, both poetry and prose. Chin serves as Conkling Visiting Poet here at Smith for Spring 2016 and 2017.

The winner and four finalists in this year’s High School Prize (judged by Chin) opened the evening’s reading with their prize-winning poems.

Supported by the Department of English Language & Literature