"The woman wore a floral apron around her neck..."

Marilyn Chin

The Floral Apron

Born in Hong Kong in 1955, Marilyn Chin was raised in Portland, Oregon. She has described her own poetry as "steeped with the themes and travails of exile, loss, and assimilation. What is the loss of country if it were not the loss of self?" This loss extends even to her original first name, Mei Ling, changed to Marilyn "somewhere between Angel Island and the sea" by a father obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. The poem in which Chin tells this story, "How I Got That Name, an essay in assimilation," combines sharp observations on identity, racism, and culture, with a sardonic tone. Chin's satirical edge is even more pronounced in Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen: A Novel, that takes comic aim at both the coming of age tale and the immigrant success story. Chin has published three books of poetry, a novel, and numerous translations. She gives readings and participates in workshops around the world, and teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.

To read this and other poems and translations by Marilyn Chin, as well as biographical information about the poet, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.