photo by Carol Chen [d. summer 1970]

Fay Chiang

born January 27, 1952, the Bronx, New York City

died October 20, 2017, the Bronx, New York City

full name Fay Ping Chiang

parents: Bay Doc Chiang (1922-1974) (emigrated 1930's as "paper son") and Hop Kun Leo Chiang (emigrated 1950), from Sunwei, Guangdong, China

two sisters, Jean and Janice

one brother, Peter (died 1982)

daughter: Xian, b. 1990

grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC (now called East Elmhurst)

attended Hunter College of the City University of New York majoring in art

graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in illustration, Manhattan, New York City

one of the founders and for years the Executive Director of the Basement Workshop on Elizabeth Street

instumental in Basement Workshop's journal Bridge (v. 1-10, no. 1, July-August 1971-1985) and its pioneering publication Yellow Pearl (1972)

Revson Fellow 1985-1986

Programming/Development Director, Project Reach, the crisis counseling anti-discrimination youth center located in Lower East Side/Chinatown, New York

worked at the Henry Street Settlement's outreach program; New York Newsday's public affairs department; and Poets & Writers, New York City

joined New York University Asian/Pacific/American Department as Artist in Residence 2003-2004

in recent years had painted dozens of portraits of people killed by law enforcement, including many youngsters, portraits which were exhibited at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts on West 39th Street in Manhatten

"Mother of my soul," Sunbury, a poetry magazine, 1, page 30, 1974 (reprinted by permission from Yellow Pearl , copyright held by Basement Workshop, Inc., 1972

"For those who runaway from the movement," Sunbury, a poetry magazine, 2, pages 69-72, 1974; also appeared in Bridge: The Asian-American Magazine 3 (1975): 24-25

"it was as if there were not," Sunbury, a poetry magazine, 4, pages 66-69, 1976

"Two images," Sunbury, a poetry magazine, 5, pages 29-30, 1976

Ordinary Women: Mujeres comunes : an anthology of poetry by New York City women edited by Sara Miles... [et al.] with an introd. by Adrienne Rich ; design and graphics by Lois Elaine Griffith and Mary Wagner. New York: Ordinary Women Books, 1978

The Steve Cannon Show, Audio Magazine. Vol. II, no.3, Ubiquitous Incantations, 1978. Featuring The Basement Workshop poets plus special guests: Fay Chiang, Jason Hwang, Charlie Chin, Teru Kerazawa, Richard Oyama, Francis Chun, Joy Harjo, Amiri Baraka, Louis Rivera, Ishmael Reed, Cyn Zarco, June Jordan, Helen Wong, and Lawson Inada. Music included. Archived in the Ishmael Reed Papers, University of Delaware.

In The City Of Contradictions. New York: Sunbury Press Books, 1979

editor, American Born and Foreign: An Anthology of Asian American Poetry (Sunbury, a poetry magazine, 7/8). New York: Sunbury Press Books, 1979; her poems in this volume: "His Long Tapered Fingers," page 18; "Chinatown," pages 49-51; "In the City of Contradictions," page 130-131.

"Autumn Dusk," [incredibly moving masterpiece elegy for her father *] Sunbury, a literary magazine, 10, pages 160-171, 1981; also appears in Miwa's Song, (next entry) pages 35-48

Miwa's Song. Bronx, New York: Sunbury Press Books, 1982, about Theodora Yoshikami's daughter

Chiang, Fay, "it was as if," pages 550-553, The Third Woman: Minority Women Writers of the United States, edited by Dexter Fisher. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980

An interview with Fay Chiang, poet and director of Basement Workshop / Author: Billops, Camille.; Chiang, Fay, Publication: 1981 In: Artist and influences [New York] : Hatch-Billops Collection, 1981, pages 53-68; held by Seattle Public Library

"Eight Pound Livelihood," documentary film, produced by Yuet-Fung Ho, 1984, 27 minutes. Traces the history of the Chinese laundry in America---how it began and continues to flourish to this day. The documentary, shot in New York, combines still photos and live interviews with laundry workers. Heaving the eight pound iron and working long hours in the laundry was a tough, tedious vocation. "We didn't really have a choice," one of the men says. Chinese who heard the cry of gold in the 1840's came to California only to discover they were forbidden to prospect for gold. They could, however, enter a trade serving the miners, cooking their meals and washing their clothes. It became a way of life for the Chinese to make a meager living. Poet Fay Chiang, in her thirties in 1984, recalls her childhood days spent in cramped living quarters in the back of her family's laundry business. Songwriter Charlie Chin pays tribute in a ballad to the hardworking Chinese men and women who created the ubiquitous Chinese laundry. "Eight Pound Livelihood" is a production of the New York Chinatown History Project.

A detailed reminiscence entitled "Looking Back : Basement Workshop, 1971-86," written by Fay Chiang in 1986, appears on pages 106-115 in Quiet Fire : A Historical Anthology of Asian American Poetry, 1892-1970, edited by Juliana Chang. New York : The Asian American Writers' Workshop : Distributed by Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Chiang, Fay, "Indian Summer," pages 149-151, Girls : An Anthology edited by Edith Chevat, Laurie Piette, and Angie Argabrite. New York: Global City Press, 1997

A Railroad on Gold mountain written by Fay Chiang; illustrated by Keunhee Lee and Dom Lee. (Juvenile audience) 16 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm. New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 1997

review by Marian Yee of In The City of Contradictions by Fay Chiang. CALYX, 11, no. 2/3, pages 243-47, 1988

The Capricorn Awards are given annually to a poet and a fiction writer over the age of 40 for book-length manuscripts. Margaret Ryan of New York City received the 1994 Poetry Award for her collection Against Romance. The judge was Fay Chiang.

Citta` nella citta`, Chinatown si anima nei versi di Fay Chiang. Nata a New York e animatrice di un punto di aggregazione di artisti e attivisti cinesi e asiaticoamericani, h un'autrice ampiamente antologizzata. Il narrative poem Chinatown, iniziato nel 1987, non e stato ancora pubblicato. -- from Odori, sapori, colori Segni di multiculturalita` sul territorio by Mariangela Peghetti

FAY CHIANG'S publications include poetry volumes In The City of Contradictions and Miwa's Song and prose and poetry in Girls (Global City Press, N.Y 1997), Voci dal Silenzio: Scrittori ai Margini d' America (Feltrinelli, Milan 1996), Changer L'Amerique: Anthologie de la Poesie Protestataire des USA ( Maison de la Poesie, Rhone-Alpes, 1995).

Awarded a New York State CAPS grant in Poetry, a Columbia University Revson Fellowship, and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, Chiang was a writer in residence at The 63rd Street Y's Writers Voice, Project Reach, Plays For Living, Elders Share The Arts, and Art in General. The New York Chinatown History Project commissioned play, Laundryman, based on her father's life, was workshopped by The Four Seas Players. A screenplay, Mia Vita, was produced by Third World Newsreel and a children's book, A Railroad on Gold Mountain was published by MacMillan-McGraw Hill.

Formerly executive director of Basement Workshop, Inc., the first multi disciplinary Asian American nonprofit arts organization in New York Chinatown, director of the Asian American Outreach Program at Henry Street Settlement, project manager at New York Newsday's Public Affairs department, Chiang is director of Poets & Writers New York and Midwest Readings/Workshops program. She is also a member of the PEN Open Book Committee, the Network of Cultural Centers of Colors' board of directors and Project Reach, an at-risk youth center on the Lower East Side. Currently working on a book-length poem, Chinatown, and a fourth book, In This Life, Chiang lives in the East Village with her daughter, Xian.

contact Fay Chiang, Poets & Writers, 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012; (212) 226-3586;[NOTE: this email address not responding September 1, 2002]

Fay Ping Chiang obituary, NY Times, by Richard Sandomir, October 27, 2017

Fay Chiang

Fay Chiang - 7 Continents 9 Lives

The Nine Lives of Fay Chiang

Fay Chiang interview by Jennifer Tan of GenerAsian@NYU

Fay Chiang at Stony Brook, SUNY

Fay Chiang, Artist-in-Residence, Asian / Pacific / American Studies Gallery

-- statement -- Fay Chiang, Artist-in-Residence, Asian / Pacific / American Studies Gallery

Poets & Writers Online Homepage

"Eight Pound Livelihood" at APA TV NAATA Archives National Asian American Telecommunications Association

Asian American Arts Centre

Fay Chiang in Quiet Fire

Four Seas Players

Fay Chiang interviewed by Jennifer Tan GenerAsian@NYU Spotlight on Asian American Student Affairs

Great Leap

Henry Street Settlement

Ishmael Reed Papers, University of Delaware

Lower Manhattan Residents RELIEF Coalition

Museum of Chinese in the Americas

New York State Lit Tree (Fay Chiang is a Curator)

some notes on Basement Workshop

-- where is Basement Workshop's Danny Yung today?

PEN Open Book Program

Wes Senzaki

Third World Newsreel

Asian American Arts Alliance

Asian American Writers' Workshop

The Bowery Poetry Club

Kearny Street Workshop

Columbia University Revson Fellows 1979-2002

Tom Bolling's home page