Poetry: Jennifer Soong

Selected by Hoa Nguyen as a finalist for the 2018 Omnidawn Revealed Identity Poetry Book Prize

From Happenstances:

Where does your life

                                              between one picture

                                  and the next


                                                    Is it/ as divine/
                                       does it

                            like cool 

                                  vegetation/ appear

                            in Clarendon
                                              at all ?


                                the car gels into &

amongst clouds                   High up and Smooth sailing                   I watch at Barton Springs 

                                           three paddle boarders go on standing 

                                down a whole creek

                                                             like food! on a 

                                                             conveyer belt—Why is it

                        so awkward and hard to get right? 

                                                                       How do I 

                                                get myself just 

                                                             pulled along?

“Personal achievement and deeper
connection with nature”

                                                             Water sports selling me on sleep

                        I need nine hours truth be told

                                                                       in the summer though ten 

                        makes me feel I’ve 

                                                            been thoroughly myself   long enough 

                                                can get up and 

                        try some other things 

                                                            being  especially womanly for instance

                                ludicrous or

                        critically vulnerable

                                                            like water in the fridge that’s been 

                                coolly entering a state

                                                                       What was I saying 

                                                          about baths? I wasn’t,

                        then again

                                                                       being full on the outside

                                                right before the face 

                                goes down gets all trippy like TV static waves

                        means being submerged in contact

                                                                         fully    with the outside world

Jennifer Soong reading: From Happenstances

Jennifer Soong is a New Jersey and New York-based poet. Her first collection Near, At was chosen by Pierre Joris, Monica McClure, and Claudia La Rocco to be published with Futurepoem in fall of 2019. Mia You has described it as a “philosophical-treatise-as-poem […] in a line of affinity with contemporary writers such as Lyn Hejinian, Lisa Robertson and Anne Boyer,” while Graham Foust has called it “uniquely tender.” Jennifer received her B.A. in English and Visual Studies from Harvard College before working at The New School and joining the English doctoral program at Princeton University, where she is currently working on poetry and forgetting. Her poetry has been published in DIAGRAM, Fanzine, Berfrois, Social Text, and others, and has been translated into Spanish. She is the current poetry editor at Nat. Brut.