Wang Ping

Wang Ping was born in China and came to the U.S. in 1985. She authored 15 books of poetry and prose: My Name Is Immigrant, (poetry, Hanging Loose Press 2020); Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi, (AWP creative non-fiction award, University of Georgia Press 2018); Ten Thousand Waves, (poetry from Wings Press, 2014); American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), The Magic Whip (poetry, 2003), The Last Communist Virgin (stories, 2007)—all from Coffee House; Flash Cards: Poems by Yu Jian, (co-translation with Ron Padgett, 2010 from Zephyr Press); Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (2000, University of Minnesota Press, 2002 paperback by Random House) which won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities; The Last Communist Virgin which won a 2008 Minnesota Book Award and Asian American Studies Book Award; and New Generation: Poetry from China Today (Hanging Loose Press 1999).

She is the recipient of NEA, the Bush Artist Fellowship for poetry, the McKnight Fellowship for non-fiction, and many others. She received her Distinct Immigrant Award in 2014, and Venezuela International Poet of Honor in 2015. She is the Minnesota Poet Laureate 2021-2023, appointed by International Beat Poetry Foundation. She’s also a photographer, installation artist and flamenco dancer. Her multi-media exhibitions include “Behind the Gate: After the Flood of the Three Gorges,” “Kinship of Rivers” at schools, colleges, galleries, museums, lock and dams, and confluences along the Mississippi River. She is professor Emerita of English at Macalester College, founder and director of Kinship of Rivers project.

A Free Woman in the Other Half of the Sky

During the final stage of the Cultural Revolution, I got hold of a thick tattered book in English through the underground book club. The cover was gone, front and back, and many pages torn out. It had passed through many hands. Many pages were marked with question marks, explanations and comments in English, Chinese, Russian, and in different handwritings. The title Free Women captured my eyes, along with Anna Wulf’s words “stretching myself” and “living as fully as I can.”