Mary Jean Chan is a Chinese-British poet, editor and critic. She is originally from Hong Kong, but now resides in London. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College in 2012 with a BA in Political Science, with a minor in English Literature. She also earned an MPhil in International Development from Oxford University, and an MA and PhD in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Mary Jean Chan made her debut with the poetry collection Flèche, published in 2019. Below is a list of Mary Jean Chan’s books in order of when they were originally published:

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Publication Order of Collections

Publication Order of Anthologies

Islands Are But Mountains(2019)Description / Buy at
100 Queer Poems(2022)Description / Buy at

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Mary Jean Chan Synopsis: Flèche by Mary Jean Chan is a poetry collection. It is a winner of the Costa Poetry Award, and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Flèche (French for “arrow”) is an offensive technique commonly used in fencing, a sport Mary Jean Chan participated in as a young adult, when she competed locally and internationally for her hometown, Hong Kong. This cross-linguistic pun presents the queer, non-white body as both vulnerable (“flesh”) and weaponised (“flèche”), and evokes the difficulties of reconciling one’s need for safety alongside the desire to shed one’s protective armour in order to fully embrace the world.

A major aspect of the collection is the figure of the poet’s mother, whose fragmented memories of political turmoil in twentieth-century China are sensitively threaded through the book in an eight-part poetic sequence, combined with recollections from Chan’s childhood. As complex themes of multilingualism, queerness, psychoanalysis and cultural history emerge, so too does a richly imagined personal, maternal and national biography. The result is a series of poems that feel urgent and true, dazzlingand devastating by turns.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Mary Jean Chan Books

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