Maggie Smith and Victoria Chang

Maggie Smith & Victoria Chang in Conversation

Tuesday, October 26, 7 pm via Crowdcast

About the Event

Award-winning poets Maggie Smith and Victoria Chang discuss the objects of everyday life and family history — a hallway mirror, a marriage license, a photograph — and how we come to terms and know ourselves through them. Smith’s new collection, Goldenrod uses what Slate calls Smith’s “superpower”: brilliant metaphors that celebrate human emotions to explore everyday life with empathy and honesty. Time says, “To read Maggie Smith is to embrace the achingly precious beauty of the present moment.” Chang’s Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief spans generations as Chang shapes her own identity through the trauma and loss of her family, and of being American and Chinese. Politics & Prose says, “While the papers left behind by Chang’s mother are a record of past events, Chang’s letters demonstrate how their effects continue to resonate―across time, oceans, and through generations… Imaginatively creating a conversation between past and present.” This conversation will be moderated by Nicole Tong, Fairfax Poet Laureate, and author of How to Prove a Theory. 

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Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang is the author of Dear Memory. Her poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. OBIT received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the PEN Voeckler Award; it was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Prize and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and was long-listed for the National Book Award. She is also the author of a children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee and named a New York Times Notable Book, and a middle grade novel, Love, Love. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA program.

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in the New York Times, The New Yorker, the Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more. For more on Smith, please visit

Nicole Tong headshot

Nicole Tong is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Fairfax County, Virginia. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and George Mason University where she received her MFA. In 2016, she served as a Writer-in-Residence at Pope-Leighey House, a Frank Lloyd Wright property in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a recipient of the President’s Sabbatical from Northern Virginia Community College where she is a Professor of English and an Acting Associate Dean. Her writing has appeared in American Book Review, Cortland Review, and Yalobusha Review, among others. Nicole Tong’s debut collection, How to Prove a Theory, was the 2017 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize Winner and was published by Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Tong’s Fairfax Poet Laureate tenure project is Poetry Lives Here, a project that aims to amplify the work of living poets through community workshops, National Poetry Month events, and the allocation of living poet libraries to K-12 and community college classrooms. Follow her work @PoetryLivesHere on Twitter.

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