An Evening with Poet Marilyn Chin
Date: 7:00pm PDT September 29, 2014 Location: Agnes Flanagan Chapel
Agnes Flanagan Chapel
Marilyn Chin (陈美玲) is a prominent Chinese American poet and writer, an activist and feminist, an editor and Professor of English. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon, her books have become Asian American classics and are taught in classrooms all over the world. Marilyn Chin’s work is a frequent subject of academic research and literary criticism. She has read her poetry at the Library of Congress.
An award-winning author of a novel, she has also published four volumes of poetry, including Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty, and the newly released Hard Love Province. In addition to teaching in the MFA program at San Diego State University, she serves as a mentor on the international faculty of the City University of Hong Kong’s low-residency MFA program, the first of its kind in Asia.
Please join us in the Chapel for a special evening with Marilyn Chin! This event is co-sponsored by Lewis & Clark College’s Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement and the English Department. This event is free and open to the public.
“How I Got That Name:
an essay on assimilation”
I am Marilyn Mei Ling Chin
Oh, how I love the resoluteness
of that first person singular
followed by that stalwart indicative
of “be,” without the uncertain i-n-g
of “becoming.” Of course,
the name had been changed
somewhere between Angel Island and the sea,
when my father the paperson
in the late 1950s
obsessed with a bombshell blond
transliterated “Mei Ling” to “Marilyn.”
And nobody dared question
his initial impulse—for we all know
lust drove men to greatness,
not goodness, not decency.
And there I was, a wayward pink baby,
named after some tragic white woman
swollen with gin and Nembutal.