From the judges, Charles Yu and Shawna Yang Ryan: “In this sophisticated collection of poems confronting personal and community history, Spencer Chang elegantly uses a variety of poetic forms, white space, and highly original images to great emotional effect. In language where violence and beauty collide, Chang illuminates historical events such as the 228 Massacre, the murder of Vincent Chin, and the sacrifice of the Chinese in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Ultimately, these striking poems demonstrate how our personal and public histories are inextricable.”
Spencer Chang is a writer from Taipei, Taiwan. He is a 2021 YoungArts Finalist in Poetry, and his work has been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He will attending Duke University this fall and always enjoys jamming it out to Lorde, Bon Iver, and Hozier.
From Spencer: “I actually wrote the “Ghost Stories” series this past summer as my first venture into poems of witness. During my time in AP US History, I noticed how the history of Asian Americans, like many other minorities, often received little to no mention. If it weren’t for my parents, I never would have learned about events like the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, or the murder of Vincent Chin. I knew I had to bring awareness to these events, and poetry just came as the most natural form to me.”