Simon Shieh is a Taiwanese American poet, essayist, and educator. He is the author of Master (Sarabande Books, 2023), selected by Terrance Hayes for the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and the recipient of a 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Shieh’s poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in Poetry, American Poetry Review, and the Yale Review, among other publications. In Beijing, Shieh co-founded Spittoon Literary Magazine, which publishes exciting new Chinese writers in translation. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and their dog.
This grant is an unexpected, immensely validating gift. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship will go a long way toward supporting my next poetry collection, which reckons with my ambivalent relationship with China.
I lived in Beijing for 11 of the most formative years of my life, and then suddenly, on a Tuesday afternoon in 2021, my family and I were told we needed to leave immediately. The poems I’ve written since have been concerned both with China’s recent history of oppression and with the role of the poet as witness. More tangibly, this grant will support me to pursue an MFA in poetry, which has long been a dream but now feels possible. This award could not have come at a better time. I am deeply grateful to my wife for her unwavering support and to the NEA for believing in my work.