Valerie Hsiung

ISBN: 978-0-900-57593-8
Release Date: December, 2016

Valerie Hsiung’s powerful, fugue-like procession of words continues in her third full-length collection, efg (exchange following and gene flow). Her words seem to prick you as pins amidst her nostalgia and floral lines that ribbon the reader into being immersed in the enthrall of her deep and varying worlds. Her dynamic switches of register and the punch of her refrains express a full range of the bizarre textures of lived experience. In this trilogy of self-examinations, explorations of poetic space, and declarative concoctions, Hsiung opens an uncommon reality. Efg’s terse, erratic portrait snowballs through this and lineates and recombines into new forms in a way that wakes itself again and again.

“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 efg (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. Efg is made out of instinct, fortitude, tribute, and a blasting poetical vision already years in the making and very much its own.”

— Peter Richards


Valerie Hsiung is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: efg (exchange following and gene flow): a trilogy (Action Books, 2016), incantation inarticulate (O Balthazar Press, 2013), and under your face (O Balthazar Press, 2013). The recipient of the Frances Mason Harris Prize, her writing can be found in places such as American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, and the PEN Poetry Series, among elsewhere. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hsiung spent significant portions of her childhood in Las Vegas, received a BA from Brown University, and is now based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a love detective and matchmaker. She also serves as an editor for Poor Claudia.