Today's poem is "The Common Wealth, Cash and Carry"
from Light Into Bodies

The University of Tampa Press

Nancy Chen Long was born in Taipei, Taiwan, to a Taiwanese mother and an American father who was stationed in Taiwan as a linguist for the U.S. Air Force. The family lived primarily in Okinawa before moving stateside when she was six. Once in the States, they moved every couple of years until she was a teenager, at which time they settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a non-military town where her father served as an advisor to the Air National Guard. While creative writing was Chen Long's first choice for a major, she was strongly compelled to major in science instead. Plans were made for her to attend the National Taiwan University and major in biochemistry. However, it was not to be. Due to intervening life circumstances, she didn't enroll in college full-time until her mid-twenties, when she majored in Electrical Engineering Technology. After completing her degree, Chen Long went on to pursue an MBA and develop a career in technology, working as an electrical engineer, software consultant, and project manager before taking a position at Indiana University in 2005. Later in life, through the encouragement of friends and professors, Chen Long went on to pursue the MFA she had originally wanted as a teenager, graduating from Spalding University in 2013. She is a 2017 NEA fellowship recipient and author of the chapbook Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). Her first book manuscript was selected as winner of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry in 2016. She lives in south-central Indiana with her husband and works at Indiana University in the Research Technologies division.

Books by Nancy Chen Long:

Other poems on the web by Nancy Chen Long:
"First, My Brother"
"Exaltation of Separation"
"A Drift of Dust"
Two poems
"Reunion: Day 3"
"?On Seeing A Heronry Of Egrets Nesting In A Tree"

Nancy Chen Long's Website.

Nancy Chen Long on Twitter.

About Light Into Bodies:

"'I recreated a world/—so real looking—/out of spit and dust,' writes Nancy Chen Long in her powerful debut, Light into Bodies. And she does just that, while bringing light into the human and animal bodies of the universe, as she chronicles the rhythms of her Taiwanese origins and a childhood journey from Okinawa to the United States and into a generative, complex womanhood. Both the fullness and absence of family guide the speaker of these poems into an illumination of voice, all the more courageous in that it inhabits the knife-edge of liminal space. Nancy Chen Long's poems sing with rage and rage with tenderness, as they lovingly—and deftly—seek the solace of identity."
—George Kalamaras

"Readers will indeed feel they have entered through the 'good luck door' after opening Nancy Chen Long's Light into Bodies. This is a gorgeous debut, filled with glorious language that tenaciously explores the mysteries of many worlds that in the end make one life."
—Kathleen Driskell

"Much is at stake in Nancy Chen Long's beautiful book. She attempts the impossible—to construct identity in a country where children are told 'to color-/in Caucasoid.' Her poems possess an emotional potency translated through the 'lexicon of water' and the 'vernacular of tumbleweed.' Light into Bodies reminds us of the startling paradox—there is no hope without insatiable hunger. We end where we begin."
—Nancy K. Pearson

"Nancy Chen Long's poems are lush, meditative, and quietly urgent. With lines that are lyrically charged and haunted by the past, these poems long to be heard and carried in the ear. Here are poems that are not afraid of beauty, or silence, or to know, 'Dust is never an option. I have no need to hide.'"
—Ada Limón

"These are my favorite kinds of poems: stories swept clean with the parsimonious bristle-switch of language even as pockets of narrative remain fluid, aviary, free. The achievement of Light into Bodies is both its momentum and its still moments, 'grains of rice, marking a trail back home,' a pacing black puma, sassafras and nettles, a constellation of scars, poem after poem a perfect hymn for those of us 'who sing with rage in our throats.' "
—Susanna Childress

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