Poet and scholar Timothy Yu was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He earned his BA at Harvard and a PhD at Stanford University. Yu’s scholarly and creative work explores the intersections of race and avant-garde writing traditions; his first book of criticism Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry Since 1965 (2009) won the Book Award in Literary Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies. He is the author of four chapbooks of poetry: Immersion (1995); Postcard Poems (2003), cowritten with Cassie Lewis; Journey to the West (2006), which won a Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize from Kundiman; and 15 Chinese Silences (2012), which is part of a longer work that takes its impetus from the Billy Collins poem “Grave.” Yu has said of this project: “I took it upon myself to write these silences, which for me became a symbol of the way Asia and Asians are present, yet silenced, in American culture.”
Yu’s poems and criticism have appeared in journals such as Contemporary Literature, Shampoo, and Genre. He lives with his wife and daughter in Madison, Wisconsin, where he is a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His newest book, 100 Chinese Silences, was published by Les Figues Press (2016).