A debut poetry collection in which non-binary poet and drag performer Wo Chan recounts stories from their queer childhood and adolescence.




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Togetherness sends out sparks from its electric surface, radiating energy and verve from within its deep and steady emotional core: stories of the poet’s immigrant childhood spent in their family’s Chinese restaurant, culminating in a deportation battle against the State. These narrative threads weave together monologue, soaring lyric descants, and document, taking the positions of apostrophe, biography, and soulful plaint to stage a vibrant and daring performance in which drag is formalism and formalism is drag—at once campy and sincere, queer, tender, and winking.


Wo Chan’s debut hurtles past any praise I can heap on it. Acutely aware of the cruelty of the nation-state and of the exhilarating splendor of drag, Chan’s language—razor sharp, captivating—refuses to demure, to clarify. A wide range of formal approaches and a structure that’s sheer genius troubles assumptions, disrupts notions of “togetherness.” I will be teaching this book.

-Eduardo C. Corral
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ISBN: 9781643621449
Paperback, 80 pages, 6 x 9 in
Publication Date: September 2022

Wo Chan’s remarkable debut collection puts in tension memories of the diaspora as the poems move between childhood, the family restaurant, and a racist immigration system that demands exceptionality and authenticity. Articulating the multiplicities of experiences and affect in conflict, Togetherness invokes a lyrical address to love, community, and belonging.

Wo Chan who performs as The Illustrious Pearl is a poet and drag artist. They are a winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and the author of Togetherness (2022). Wo …

More about Wo Chan