Contributor Spotlight: Dorothy Chan

headshot: Dorothy Chan in a blue shirt standing in front of a brick wall

Dorothy Chan’s poems Hong Kong Suitor” and “Triple Sonnet for Liberace‚Äôs White Pianos and Dream Houses are featured in Issue 77 of the Bellingham Review

What would you like to share with our readers about the work you contributed to the Bellingham Review?

I’m obsessed with Liberace. I mean, why wouldn’t I be? He once said that “Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” and I can’t disagree with this statement. I love excess and I love glitter and I love over the top outfits and Las Vegas and the idea of a boy toy (though in reality, I prefer actual men) and blinged-out baby grands, and two of everything, etc. I took Glenn C. Altschuler’s famous popular culture class at Cornell, and I remember Prof. Altschuler dedicated one lecture to Liberace, and shared how “Lee” used to ask his audience for casserole recipes in between piano sessions. I thought that was really neat.

Tell us about your writing life.

I write every day. I recently got back into writing every day after taking a month off of poetry. It was terrible. I couldn’t handle it. I compare it to being away from a lover, only it’s more intense.

Which non-writing aspects of your life most influence your writing? 

I’m on Instagram so I can follow accounts with images that inspire me. Current favorite accounts: @gelatomessina @sarashakeel @benfrostisdead @yazbukey @theblondsny

What writing advice has stayed with you?

“Write to think; don’t think to write.” — Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

What is your favorite book (or essay, poem, short story)? Favorite writers?

This is too hard! Norman Dubie’s “Caravaggio, Texas” is a poem that always sticks with me.

What are you reading right now?

I’m revisiting a favorite of 20-year-old me: The War Between the Tates, which is this spectacular ’70s campus novel by Alison Lurie.

What project(s) are you working on now, or next?

I’m working on my third full-length poetry collection, Hong Kong Recipes. I’m also writing an essay for Queen Mob’s Tea House and Russell Bennetts on poetry, sexiness, the fetishization of Asian women, and depictions of female characters in anime. And I’m always busy editing The Southeast Review.

Anything else our readers might want to know about you?

Food is an obsession of mine. I could really use a Quarter Pounder with Cheese right now.

Where can our readers connect with you online?

DOROTHY CHAN is the author of Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, Forthcoming March 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Academy of American Poets, The Cincinnati Review, The Common, Diode Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Chan is the Editor of The Southeast Review and Poetry Editor of Hobart. Visit her website at

Featured Image: “Liberace” by Alan Light