Asian American Studies Lecture Series: Monica Youn and Jenny Zhang

02/26/2020 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
McCormick 101
Monica Youn and Jenny Zhang

Since 2015, the Asian American Studies Lecture Series has brought speakers from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences to Princeton to explore diverse aspects of this continually evolving field.

In 2019-20, in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Department of English, the series is dedicated to contemporary Asian American letters, to showcase the recent explosion of Asian American creative writers and to highlight the expansive geopolitical diversity of what constitutes Asian American letters today.

Monica Youn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Blackacre (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kingsley Tufts Award and the PEN Open Book Award and was longlisted for the National Book Award, as well as being named one of the best poetry collections of the year by the New York Times, Washington Post and BuzzFeed. Her previous book Ignatz (Four Way Books 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and Stanford University, among others. The daughter of Korean immigrants, and a former lawyer, she was raised in Houston, Texas. She now lives in New York City and teaches at Princeton University. Linda Gregerson has said that “Monica Youn, quite simply, is one of the two or three most brilliant poets working in America today.” In her citation for the William Carlos Williams Award, Robin Coste Lewis writes that in Blackacre, “Youn transforms English itself, a vast landscape of repressed histories, into a seemingly black acre, too, an unexplored site, where suddenly the fraught relationships between the body, time, and history are stunningly articulated simultaneously.” John Yau, writing in Hyperallergic, writes that “in every generation there is a handful of poets who challenge the way we think about language and how it is used [...]. It is to this distinguished company that Youn now belongs.”She is a member of the curatorial group The Racial Imaginary Institute and chairs the Lewis Center Committee on Race and the Arts.


Jenny Zhang is the author of the story collection Sour Heart and the poetry collection Dear Jenny, We Are All Find. Her second collection of poetry, My Baby First Birthday, is forthcoming from Tin House. She is the recipient of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.