Feng Sun Chen – First Book Interview
Interview by Kallie Falandays with Feng Sun Chen, the author of Butcher’s Tree from Black Ocean
This was always a long poem in my head, but each section also had its own space on the page, and I worked on them as such, but always kept in mind how each part is connected to whole piece.
I believe my editors again had a huge role is helping me order the poems in the first 2 sections of the book. They saw an arc in it that I was unable to see because I was so close to my own work. Since I’m quite flexible with my “visions” of what my projects should look like, their input had maximal impact on the final outcome, because most of the time I would agree with their choices.
I can’t even remember! I sent it to so many places that rejected it. Black Ocean was a total surprise. It felt like something just fell out of the sky.
The Little Mermaid, Sun Wu Kong, Pinocchio, A.I., Blade Runner, Melancholia, Tropical Malady.
Lately, I like Inger Christensen’s “It,” Madeleine Thien, Debbie Hu (herself and the poets she introduces me to), James Baldwin (all his stuff), and Mary Gaitskill.