THERE IS STILL SINGING IN THE AFTERLIFE
Winner of the Inaugural Own Voices Chapbook Prize selected by Aria Aber
"What Xu accomplishes here is an acceptance of both life and death, creating space in which the dead keep on living and the living hold death in our minds and on our tongues. "
"'There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife' is a collection that sears with both memory and mouthed prayers, where death is not a singular act and language teems with life."
"Xu is a writer possessed with rare sensitivity, and the poem is a glimpse of her inner and outer world where she balances personal memoir and history, where poems dangle between the living and the non-living, between remembrance and imagination. She has created a sensory and transcendent reading experience. It fills the mind with a sense of poignancy and quiet tenderness."
"Xu allows the reader to come up close and intimate, integrating matters of life, of the body, and matters transcending what is around us."
LUMIERE REVIEW with Jessica Kim
LIGEIA with Ashley Wagner
THE RUMPUS with Sasha Burshteyn
Zoom Conversation with Kirun Kapur
VIZARDS Podcast with Lindy Labriola
SINGAPORE UNBOUND: Art Is + with Janelle Tan
“Reader, you are lucky to have the award-winning chapbook of JinJin Xu before you. These superb poems resonate with personal and cultural intimacy. JinJin Xu writes with the insight and skill of a veteran poet, a doyen, a griot. Her lines open and breathe on the page as they do in the mind and heart. There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is inventive, linguistic, ambitious, tender, wise, brave. This fabulous chapbook may be a collector’s item someday.”
— Terrance Hayes
“There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is a demanding, deeply felt and formally inventive constellation of poems. Resisting the expectations of what poetry should look like, the text rearranges what we know of family, country, and language.”
— Aria Aber
“The way family pervades every aspect of our lives, the way we remain children forever, the way we can never transcend our bodies, the way some people really do write their poems in their own blood, the way we can move to a new country and become masters of its language and poetry and still never be set free from the grasp of our homes, the way the dead refuse to leave us, the way there is still singing in the afterlife, these are only some of the ways JinJin Xu writes sharp, beautiful and genre-threatening poems in this ridiculous time and place. Listen to her quiet, insistent voice; you’ll learn something.”
— Matthew Rohrer
“JinJin Xu is writing poems that aren’t like other poems, poems that enact a sacred-feeling disorientation and then arrive at specific ends, poems that wind their way intoxicatingly to weighty and sobering truths. Hello, surprise. Hello, newness. ‘When I say words out loud they become real,’ Xu writes. And to that statement I raise my hands in praise. Xu is part of the very bright future of poetry. Thankfully for us, the future is happening now.”
— Carrie Fountain
“JinJin Xu’s There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is a generational elegy of both wide and close frames. Xu’s poems ask where grief swims beneath social and historical forces of silence; they float across languages and their modes of meaning against death, against the silence we all most wish to reach through.” — Yanyi
“At the center of There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife is JinJin Xu’s lyric voice: it has a depth and deftness that is exhilarating. It is truly marvelous how Xu weaves the intimacy of a contemporary speaker and her family into a poem-tapestry of history, literature, and ghosts. From Mao’s red book to the red dust that lies in the wake of a lost generation, the scope and emotional register of this chapbook is devastating.”
— Sally Wen Mao
Launch Party recording
with Aria Aber, Yanyi, Anne Carson & Robert Currie