Valerie Hsiung is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and the author of several poetry and hybrid writing collections, including To love an artist (Essay Press, forthcoming), selected by Renee Gladman for the 2021 Essay Press Book Prize, hummingbird et partygirl (Essay Press, forthcoming), outside voices, please (CSU, 2021), Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact (The Gleaners, 2020), YOU & ME FOREVER (Action Books, 2020), and e f g (Action Books, 2016). Her work frequently finds its way into thresholds (between speech & song, the literal & the symbolic, the private & the mythic, the ecologic & the cosmic, the political & the metaphysical, the scientific & the incantatory, the heavy & the petty, and Mackey’s orphic & orphan), the deformed and the incorrect and the off and the lag and the jetlag as they exist within eco-crip time, modes of decomposition, and ongoingness/chronicity. Her writing appears in The Nation, The Believer, New Delta Review, The Adroit Journal, Gulf Coast, Black Sun Lit, The Rumpus, Chicago Review, jubilat, Denver Quarterly, and beyond. She has brought performative iterations of her poetry to Treefort Music Festival, Common Area Maintenance, The Poetry Project, Poetic Research Bureau, and Shapeshifter Lab. Her work has been commissionned by Montez Press Radio, Hyle Greece, and Downs & Ross, and supported by Foundation for Contemporary Arts, PEN America, and Lighthouse Works. Born in the Year of the Earth Snake and raised by Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio, she now lives between nowhere and somewhere. 

“A storied, oscillating breath-scape, a wondrous tertium quid, Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever maps a world that moves as simultaneously paradoxical, relational, and permutational. Edged with the epic, speech-based and strange, the writings enact the promise of dreams as they address matters of hauntings and bodies, displacement, and the nature of capital, exile, and art. Here the narrative ripples, achieves both temporal and spatial possibilities, works both boundariness and dissolve. A destabilizing marvel.“
            - Hoa Nguyen

"The first time I read Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever, I had a vision of a bonfire in which countless volumes of love-twisted and love-twisting works of literature, including sculptures and films, were reduced to ash, and from the ashes were intuitively yet precisely drawn filaments on which were inscribed prophetic dialogues that voiced the poet’s relationship with the forces that would come to make, and perpetually threaten to unmake, her world. The second time I read You & Me Forever, there was neither filament nor fire, but an animated frieze, or maybe rainfall, or serrated light, of intimate retribution, that is retributive intimacy. I say read, but that is not exactly what happened."
           - Brandon Shimoda

"More than original, You & Me Forever is the afterlife of the original, a hand-drawn map of memory animated ‘when we breathe on a page to translate it’ and sense the entire book a ‘fluttering yearning being capable of mass loss capable of feeling when touched.’ And as in every afterlife, Valerie Hsiung's book is bruised by personal and historical monsters but is also proof of endurance, of refusal to ‘tell us anything we want to hear.’ What should we want? To metabolize through our very bodies Hsiung's gorgeously ‘sublingual language,’ 4 EVER & EVER."
           - Rosa Alcalá

“In the fleeting, quicksilver language of Valerie Hsiung’s You & Me Forever, accumulated peripheries jostle, rock on the waters, gain some traction, but they never quite settle. The worlds Hsiung delicately folds together create friction, a low steady hum builds and then disperses — only to try and build again. We, the reader, are invited to sit inside the hum of this continual construction, to place our bodies in the chamber alongside the many other bodies that fill You & Me Forever. A thread pulls us along. What saline logic this book holds.
            - Asiya Wadud

“How do we speak of the unspeakable? In the long, incantatory You & Me Forever, Valerie Hsiung creates meaning from the extra- and almost-linguistic (italics, punctuation, an echolalia-like repetition, numbers, empty space), since language, or “human words,” with their “complicit incompleteness,” seem to hurt to speak. Meaning is supplemental to the language. The poems become almost a filibuster of avoidance, describing a violence by circumventing a violence (“an unfathomable crime”) or the violence, violence as ongoingness. Dramatic but quiet, “This is a not a book written as a not a love letter.”
            - Elisa Gabbert

“outside voices please moves the mundane and intimate violence of English-as-axis-language outside, where it plays out as gash, ripple, unforgivingly abrupt verses, fragments, and something loud enough to disrupt the propriety of colonialism. Hsiung writes, ‘Give me an English map / and I will show you an English love, an English rape(d) word.’ Her work brings what has been discarded as noise into verse, turning its back on the imperative to render entire worlds meaningless through erasure.”
           - Raquel Salas Rivera




“Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact’s structure is a recurring fever dream; a reeling, tearing whir of ‘hospital English,’ ‘vesuviated faces’ and operatic leprosies during a late capitalist ‘germ time’ of ‘ubiquitous emergencies.’ In all this stunning leering and wheeling, Valerie Hsiung resists blur; her searing details take an uncanny clarity, a grotesque accumulation that places the terrible absurdity of life and death under colonialism in high-def. These are her stakes. This book is a walloping critical lamentation of local excesses with global tolls, a prescient account of life in pandemics, a sickbed stretched over the world with the patient still in it, racked and furiously clutching the bill. Hsiung is here to tell us what this mess costs. It isn’t pretty.”
            - Douglas Kearney

“Never has the apocalyptic nightmare of technocratic neoliberal capitalism been more clearly rendered than in Valerie Hsiung's Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact, a dizzying hybrid collection of myths and folktales gone awry, theory and art critique, personal account, and attempt to define what it means to be ‘a very bad poet.’ Bold, fiercely innovative, and infinitely chaotic, this collection depicts what it feels like to be caught in the talons of 21st century late capitalism. It seeks to pry our voices open from its grasp, revelling in what is possible when these systems break down, and I believe her vision. When Hsiung declares, ‘Let our bodies belong to the quake right now forever,’ I catch myself saying aloud, ‘Yes, let us.’”
           - Muriel Leung

"Valerie Hsiung’s outside voices please is earful of delicate worms wriggling and crisscrossing ocean box. Scattered mouths on its own island. Ocean twisting full of video monitor eyes paging through dead news. Girl flipped around bench tasting each hinge in plastic word. What’s in pocket of each word, the books asks of blurred language? Savage corner you turn around, angle your eye slides down, a close record of each infiltration."
          - Ching-In Chen

"There’s a kind of disease to speaking in Valerie Hsiung’s outside voices, please. Like it’s hacking something up out of the psychic, xenophobic, (neo)colonial bullshit that is English. Like it ingested history and agitated, agitated, agitated it. Like a maddened landline whose busy signal intones wickedly, multilingually, polyvocally: ‘Here is a book for you to read, pernicious reader.’”
           - Aditi Machado

“Hsiung’s outside voices please is densely synaptic, a rewarding cascade within the confines imposed by our well-realized but half-understood systems of meaning, living, and language-making. The lens of this collection zooms in and out intuitively, prompting the reader to incorporate the cellular, molecular, and viral along with the vastness of the conceptual and cosmological. Hsiung shows us that very connection has an impact, and every encounter changes us. Something gets transformed, something gets left behind, something remains itself, something is a testament to the coercion of change, something is the singing that persists under power differentials. Something, something, something—it’s all in the voices and stories told from the outsiders who intelligently, devastatingly acknowledge their histories and futures in this collection. Smells, textures, memories, visions, electrical connections, and the lived outcomes of political power-play, in all their forms, are included in this worldview. There is also the pleasure that Hsiung’s poetry provides, the drumbeat wordplay that flexes your face and heart as you read over the sedulous and unexpected associations that both reflect and meaningfully distort our saturated world stage. To read the world through outside voices please is to feel challenged and also to feel seen. Are you ready to enter?“
         - Ginger Ko



“Valerie Hsiung is a very prolific writer whose poems have great tonal, mood, vocal scale—that lower limit speech/upper limit music of which Zukofsky spoke. She can also express exasperation and alacrity in the space of a single short poem. The words seem simple, but their moment of appearance is rarely expected. Too wise to be innocent and too fresh to be gnarly, she eases you into her bold stances. She is one of those poets you wish were more populous for they pull you up by the hair roots and remind you living is serious business, and the whole world is in our dirty little hands. Every morning requires finding the key to our handcuffs, a splash of cold water, and a dash to insure the morning’s feasibility.”
           - CD Wright

“No matter in what tradition, genre, or period, one of the traits all anabasis literature shares in common is the obligation to be at once familiar, bizarre, and transportive. The place (which in Hsiung’s hands is its own manifold utterance) must spiritually and physically convince for in Hell (as with this world) conditions demand that the body and spirit be wayfarers together. In Valerie Hsiung’s e f g (immediately the title is one of its beautiful agonies) a system of eruptions, lyric cycle, and Hsiung’s signature adamant patience fall together into a underworld where the fact of predecessors (both mythic and literary) abound in the same industrious and orchestral way cells in a living structure do. e f g is made out of instinct, fortitude, tribute, and a blasting poetical vision already years in the making and very much its own.”
            - Peter Richards

“What blows through a torn mother earth is inhaled in lines that act as both channels and chatter, whose tone is unredemptive. The emotion comes from its clamour. Voices clang and chime. Violence clangs and chimes. I detect ventriloquism in nearly every poem—dead or disembodied voices laid into each other, sometimes lyric, sometimes scavenged. Sometimes the voices feel pained, other times they kid. They enact their history without making claims to it: “The sky had perforated for / a biological reason once again, / once again.” They offer the virtual not as a possible escape, but rather the process of turning inside-out. A body turned inside-out. Written on, scribbled over, skinned. Palimpsests to be read or translated by the living, who in the act of reading become conduits for the dead. [...] An American history seeks to extinguish the natural in exchange for the chemical, plastic or reproducible, the virtual—as a form of management.” 
            - MJ Gette

"In this shifting assemblage of verse, prose poems, scenes, performance scores, charts and maps, ‘Time unjumping from windows,’ Hsiung’s speaker emerges through clashes of language and its structures—its traumatized syntax, its colonialist dictionaries, its abusive evasions, its obfuscating corporate speak, its xenophobia and its patriarchalism, and its capacity to scorch and dazzle. Out of the urgent ‘confrontation of language,’ outside voices please issues an utterly new invitation into and beyond language: ‘Let us form the obtuse and acute angles of this assaulted triangulation.’"
            - Lauren Russell



  1. e f g (Action Books, 2016) 
  2. YOU & ME FOREVER (Action Books, 2020)
  3. Name Date of Birth Emergency Contact (The Gleaners, 2020)
  4. outside voices, please (CSU, 2021)
  5. To love an artist (Essay Press, 2022)
  6. hummingbird et partygirl (Essay Press, 2023)

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