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Poetry Launch / Muscle Memory by Jenny Liou

November 4, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

On Friday, November 4th at 6pm, join Massy ArtsMassy Books, and Kaya Press for the launch of Jenny Liou’s debut poetry book “Muscle Memory”, a collection of texts that conjoins the world of cage fighting and the traumas of immigration.

At this in-person event, Liou will be joined by guest poets Hari Alluri + Rita Wong for an evening of poetry reading, and conversations around overlapping themes in their work: grief and diaspora, reconciling with difficult lineages, and Indigenous ecologies. 

This event is free + open to all of our community, and registration is mandatory.

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site.

Covid Protocols: For all in-person events, attendees must provide proof of vaccination, wear a mask (N95 masks are encouraged and recommended as they offer the best protection), and consent to having their temperature checked at the front door. We ask that if you are showing any symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

Please be sure to register for this event.

You can purchase Muscle Memory by Jenny Liou at Massy Books.

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Book + Author

In Muscle Memory, Washington-based poet Jenny Liou grapples with violence and identity, beginning with the chain-link enclosure of the prizefighter’s cage and radiating outward into the diasporic sweep of Chinese American history.

Liou writes with spare, stunning lyricism about how cage fighting offered relief from the trauma inflicted by diaspora’s vanishing ghosts; how, in the cage, an elbow splits an eyebrow, or an armbar snaps a limb, and, even when you lose a fight, you’ve won something: pain.

The author places the physical manifestation of violence in her sport alongside the deeper traumas of immigration and her own complicated search for identity, exploring what she inherited from her Chinese immigrant father—who was also obsessed with poetry and martial arts.

When she finally steps away from the cage to raise children of her own, Liou begins to question how violence and history pass from one generation to the next, and whether healing is possible without forgetting.

Jenny Liou is the author of Muscle Memory (Kaya Press). She is an English professor at Pierce College and a retired professional cage fighter. She lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington.

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Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is a migrant poet of Filipinx & South Asian descent on unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples and Kwantlen, Katzie, and Kwikwitlem lands of Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking peoples. He is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya Press) and the chapbooks The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel Press) and Our Echo of Sudden Mercy (Next Page Press).

A co-editor of We Were Not Alone (Community Building Art Works) and co-founding editor at Locked Horn Press, siya has received grants, fellowships, and residencies from the BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, The Capilano Review, Deer Lake, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, VONA/Voices, and others. His work appears recently in AALR, Apogee, Four Way Review, Marías at Sampaguitas, ti-TCR, and—via Split This Rock—Best of the Net 2022.

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Rita Wong lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territories, also known as Vancouver, where she attends to questions of water justice, decolonization, ecology and climate justice. Co-editor of the anthology Downstream: Reimagining Water (with Dorothy Christian), Wong is the author of current, climate (Wilfrid Laurier UP 2021), beholden (Talonbooks, 2018, with Fred Wah), undercurrent (Nightwood, 2015), perpetual (Nightwood, 2015, with Cindy Mochizuki), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai), forage (Nightwood, short-listed for the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, winner of Canada Reads Poetry 2011), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998).

She has received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writer Award.

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November 4, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT