Born in Macau, Fujianese poet Wo Chan earned a BA at the University of Virginia, where he received a Rachel St. Paul Poetry Award.
In his poems, Chan often moves in several directions at once, engaging memory, identity, and the body. “Wo challenges binaries, questions the conceit of ‘normal,’ and examines the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and otherness,” observes Emily Yoon in a 2015 statement on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop website. In a 2015 interview with poet Christopher Soto for Lambda Literary, Chan discusses the connection between beauty and poetry in the context of his experience working as a makeup artist. Drawing a distinction between the cosmetics industry and beauty, Chan states, “The feeling and seeing of beauty is something every poet has to navigate when they begin to actualize form and rhythms on the page. In this way, I am most interested in the sensation of beauty that arises in poetry, and how it always dual orbits an emotion—constantly falling away and into its subject. Melancholic beauty, ecstatic beauty, absurd beauty! Conversely, writing where beauty purposely escapes feeling becomes difficult for me.” His poems have appeared in cream city review, VYM: The Drag Magazine, and Barzakh.
Chan is the recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, Poets House, the Lambda Literary Foundation, Poets & Writers, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He has served as a program assistant for Poets & Writers and a communications assistant for Kundiman. He lives in Brooklyn and is a member of the Brooklyn-based drag alliance Switch n’ Play.