Interview with Dorothy Chan

Dorothy Chan Dorothy Chan was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship and a 2017 finalist for the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, and The McNeese Review. She is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review. Visit her online at

Here’s a couple of my favorite tidbits from our interview at New Delta Review with Dorothy Chan this spring:

“And besides Chinatown, the idea of “Chinatown” has been so romanticized in American film. It’s this idea of Chinatown as a place of mystery, filled with red lanterns that guide you through the mysterious night, seductive women with pale skin and red lips wearing cheongsam, and restaurants that play live jazz, serve fortune cookies with milk, and are filled with spies at every corner. I mean, this is Edward Said’s Orientalism. It is fetishization. It is the whitewashing of East Asian culture. And in Chinatown Sonnets, I am saying no to all this.”

“My story is important. My ties to Hong Kong are important. There’s also a huge Chinese immigrant population in the US.

Chinatown SonnetsThis takes me to the following: the MFA/PhD creative writing community is a very white, cis-gendered, and straight space; the American literary canon is a very white, cis-gendered, and straight space. As an instructor, I always reinforce to my students that it is my job to teach them: 1. What the term “literary canon” means and 2. How to topple down that canon and rewrite that canon to include women, people of color, queer voices, trans writers, disabled bodies, and in summary, intersectionality.”

Winner of New Delta Review’s 6th Annual Chapbook Contest judged by Douglas Kearney, Chan’s Chinatown Sonnets is now available through NDR

Read our full interview here.

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