Poet and scholar Jennifer Chang was born in New Jersey. She is a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where she is a PhD candidate.
Chang’s lyrical poems often explore the shifting boundaries between the outer world and the self. Chang’s debut poetry collection, The History of Anonymity (2008), was selected for the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Shenandoah/ Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers. In a review of The History of Anonymity for the Boston Review, critic Kristina Marie Darling observed, “While formally diverse, the collection is unified by an ongoing engagement with the natural world, with Chang often presenting forests, rivers, and vast seaside landscapes as loci for her speakers’ search for self-knowledge and authenticity.” Speaking to the “emotional landscapes” of myths and fairy tales that surface occasionally in her poems, Chang stated in a 2008 interview on Critical Mass (the blog of the National Book Critics Circle board of directors): “As a scholar, I don’t trust autobiography, and as a lyric poet, I don’t trust narrative: both enforce a coherence that reveals more about the writer’s motives at the moment rather than the life or story being told. What I do trust is mystery; I trust confusion.”
Her honors include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Barbara Deming Foundation, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Virginia Commission for the Arts. She has also been awarded the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. Her work has been included in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poetry Series and in The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices (2008, edited by Mark Doty), The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, edited by Ellen Datlow, Gavin J. Grant, and Kelly Link), Best New Poets (2005, edited by George Garrett and Jeb Livingood), and Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004, edited by Victoria Chang and Marilyn Chin).
Chang co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and promotion of Asian American poetry. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.