Dear Memory is the artful memoir from accomplished poet Victoria Chang. With literary references and lyrical precision, she explores her family’s history by using documents from their pasts, marriage licenses, old photos, to create evocative collages with what they reveal. These are interspersed among imagined letters to those she wishes for answers, each asking questions but also telling more of the story. Here we come to know a family separated by countries, time, generations, and loss, and the poet-guide who spins their memories.— Melinda
A Kirkus Best Book of October 2021
From poet Victoria Chang, a collection of literary letters and mementos on the art of remembering across generations.
For Victoria Chang, memory "isn't something that blooms, but something that bleeds internally." It is willed, summoned, and dragged to the surface. The remembrances in this collection of letters are founded in the fragments of stories her mother shared reluctantly, and the silences of her father, who first would not and then could not share more. They are whittled and sculpted from an archive of family relics: a marriage license, a letter, a visa petition, a photograph. And, just as often, they are built on the questions that can no longer be answered.
Dear Memory is not a transcription but a process of simultaneously shaping and being shaped, knowing that when a writer dips their pen into history, what emerges is poetry. In carefully crafted collages and missives on trauma, loss, and Americanness, Victoria Chang grasps on to a sense of self that grief threatens to dissipate.
In letters to family, past teachers, and fellow poets, as the imagination, Dear Memory offers a model for what it looks like to find ourselves in our histories.
Other Honors for Dear Memory:
An Electric Literature Favorite Nonfiction Book of 2021
A TIME Magazine Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2021
A Los Angeles Times Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2021
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2021An NPR Most Anticipated Book of October 2021