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Oregon Book Award Finalist Wendy Chin-Tanner

Until the Awards Ceremony on April 13, we are featuring all of the 2015 Oregon Book Awards finalists. The winners will be announced at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 13 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Join us! You can purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

Turn2015 Oregon Book Awards Finalist

Turn by Wendy Chin-Tanner




Sibling Rivalry Press

About the book:

How do we forgive? How do we evolve? What makes us human? Turn wrestles with our ideas of race, gender, abuse, love, sex, motherhood, and death. Sensual and philosophical, personal and universal, these poems rejoice in the contradictions of living.

About the author:

Wendy Chin-Tanner is the author of the poetry collection Turn (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014) and co-author of the graphic novel American Terrorist (A Wave Blue World). She is a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal, poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown, staff interviewer at Lantern Review, and co-founder at A Wave Blue World. Born and raised in NYC, she was educated at Cambridge University, UK and now lives in Portland, OR.

Excerpt from Turn:


I beg then to be taken to the Dutch House where
in the kitchen, I show her what I have done.
She speaks gently, then mixes a poultice, Prospero
grinding dried medicinal bees together
with a foul-smelling herb steeped in bitter wine.

She holds Grandfather’s lighter under a fat sewing needle
until its sharp silver point glows orange and blue.
She pierces the shell of my ruined toe.
It releases the pressure so that magically
the blackened blood oozes out a cheerful red.
She covers the drained wound with cotton and gauze.

She promises in a quiet voice that this will be our secret.

Wendy Chin-Tanner’s website:



MUZZLE Magazine

“Wendy Chin-Tanner’s debut collection, Turn, is a fierce, intimate meditation on transformation, told with visceral lyricism and a precise narrative eye. Each of the book’s three sections explores a turning from one self to another: daughter to wife to mother to motherless, taking stock of the sacrifices and traumas accumulated along the way. Throughout the arc of personal and family narratives, constellated by persona poems and imagistic aphorisms, Chin-Tanner’s approach to these themes feels fresh and vital, the domestic and erotic blurred within a lacuna of suspension.”

Mascara Literary Review

“Wendy Chin-Tanner’s poems in her debut full-length col­lec­tion, Turn, returns with part-nostalgia and part-anguish to her Chinese-American child­hood in New York City, while contrasting these mem­o­ries with her cur­rent life…Pathetic fal­lacy is self-consciously utilised in pro­ject­ing inward con­flicts and almost unbear­able emo­tions upon the nat­ural world; the external becomes a mir­ror for the inter­nal, pro­vid­ing a much-needed sense of cathar­sis as the mir­ror reveals how the per­sonal can also be absorbed into the time­lessly universal.”

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