Design, Exhibition, and Acquisition News

Being immersed in so many interesting projects, I haven’t spent as much time online as I used to. So this is a brief recap of some exciting events in the past few months to share.

Photo by Bethany Swann

Photo by Bethany Swann

Virtual Tour of John Ashbery’s Home

After several years of design, development, and production, the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory in collaboration with Ashbery biographer Karin Roffman launched the virtual tour of John Ashbery’s home on February 5, 2019. I had the honor and pleasure of serving as the UX Designer on the project, helping to shape the aesthetics and visual design of the experience and even voicing readings of selected poems. It was a team effort to integrate the detailed 360° views of the home and collections, beautifully captured by VRHabitat, into a robust web environment provided by the Yale ITS web development team in a way that highlights Karin Roffman’s unparalleled scholarship on this legendary poet’s life and artistic work.

Center for Book Arts Exhibition & Yale Acquisition

Last fall, selected works from Silent Anatomies were displayed alongside new works at the Center for Book Arts in a Featured Artist Project show titled Monica Ong: Celestial Bodies, curated by Alexander Campos. It was a lovely place for some of the poetry installations to conclude their many years touring in exhibitions, as they were then acquired into the permanent collection of the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the beginning of this year. I also shared recent experiments in poetry and astronomy and enjoyed meeting folks who share a love of poetry, book arts, and sciences.

Monica’s Artist Talk

Monica’s Artist Talk

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

There is still a lot cooking that I hope to share more updates on. In the meantime, sign up for my newsletter (which yes, I need to get back to!).

Fork & Page reviews Silent Anatomies

Feast your eyes on this!

Photograph by Anita Olivia Koester at Fork & Page

Photograph by Anita Olivia Koester at Fork & Page

Writer and photographer Anita Olivia Koester recently reviewed Silent Anatomies for Fork & Page, a fantastic destination for poetry book reviews embedded in lush visual tablescapes. Her insightful reviews are engaging and accessible, making it easy to fall in love with what makes poetry so vital in this day and age.  On Silent Anatomies:

These multidimensional poems look at the layers of complexity in, specifically, an immigrant’s tongue: What words have been lost? What flavors have been retained? What feelings go untranslated in silence? Ong brings her reader into her search for heritage, for origins of dialect, her search for her own tongue which not only turns backwards but forwards into future generations.  (excerpt from Fork & Page)

Whenever I visit Fork & Page, I feel like I'm enjoying poetry at a Sunday Brunch with someone who loves books and food as much as I do. Her weekly poetry picks are delightful and I often come away with both my eyes and soul wonderfully nourished. 

Go to Fork & Page »

The Rumpus reviews Silent Anatomies

I am so humbled and blown away by the insightful review of Silent Anatomies by poet Kenji Liu. He went beyond analysis of the formal qualities of the collection and really delved into the difficult questions of identity that I sought to explore. I appreciated his thoughtful inquiry, not only in terms of the personal, but in terms of how we contextualize ourselves socially, historically, and politically. How refreshing!


Writing like an Asian: Five Questions with Monica

Recently, Jee Yoon Lee interviewed me about Silent Anatomies for her blog Writing like an Asian:

(Q1) Your debut collection of poetry, Silent Anatomies, opens with "The Glass Larynx." How did you come to choose this poem to be the first one in the book?
"The Glass Larynx" is a contrapuntal poem between Medica, the narrator, and the philosopher Chuang Tzu. She is challenging the idea of silence as the Way. Chuang Tzu's lines are from "Action and Non-Action," where he posits silence and stillness as the "root of all things." Perhaps that is nice if one lives alone on a mountain. Yet we live in an age where "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter," as Dr. Martin Luther King said.

What if attaining the Way is not silence but in our refusal to be silenced? "The Glass Larynx" is Medica's invitation to the reader.


Poets & Writers Magazine: What Inspires?

Recently, Poets & Writers Magazine asked me to share thoughts about what inspires me as a writer and helps me cultivate my creativity. Learn about my Golden Hour, my obsession with choreo vids, and the one thing that keeps me from being deadlocked:

“My reality consists of full-time work, parenting, family, friends, and a laptop full of clients. When to write? One shift I made was to identify my ‘golden hour,’ the most conducive time of day for creative risk-taking, making, and doing. My husband is a night owl, but for me, it’s 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM. Everyone’s asleep, I’m freshly energized and not yet cluttered with the day’s noise...."