Poets and Critics Symposium: John Yau, Thursday 25 and Friday 26 April 2024

John Yau, photo by Gloria Graham, taken during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003
John Yau, photo by Gloria Graham, taken during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003

The next Poets and Critics Symposium will be devoted to the work of John Yau.

Thursday 25 and Friday 26 April, 2024.

Université Paris Cité, Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges, 8 rue Albert Einstein, 75013 Paris

9:45 am-5 pm, room OdG 830 on Thursday 25 April (8th floor of the Olympe de Gouges Building)

and room OdG 115 on Friday 26 April (1st floor of the Olympe de Gouges Building).

image doigt petit

How  to get there?

For detailed instructions and directions, click HERE.


double change Poetry reading with Anne Portugal, John Yau and his translator Marc Chénetier

On the occasion of the publication of

Une autre façon d’écrire sur le sable, Selected Poems by John Yau,

edited and translated by Marc Chénetier (joca seria, 2024).  

Thursday 25 April, 7pm

atelier Michael Woolworth,  2 rue de la Roquette, Passage du Cheval Blanc, Cour Février,  75011 Paris M° Bastille. 

How to get there? For detailed instructions and directions, click HERE.

Thus far, we have focused on the writer’s own (creative and critical) work on the first day of the P&C symposiums and on broader issues of poetics and practice-based criticism on the second day. But there’s no specific preconceived program for the 2 days of the symposium: as the previous sessions of the program have shown, it seems important to let the conversation take its own course.

Please note that the morning session of the first day is devoted to preparing the conversation with John Yau which will take place during the afternoon session and the second day.

John Yau will be joining the group at 2pm on Thursday 25 April.

As usual, we intend to address all aspects of our guest’s work as poet, prose writer, critic, editor, and publisher.

Please feel free to make suggestions as to particular books that you would like to discuss during the symposium.

Our Thursday afternoon session with John Yau should end by 6 pm, which will leave ample time for everybody to get to the poetry reading.


Poet, fiction writer, essayist, art critic, and publisher of Black Square Editions, John Yau has written across genres and worked in different mediums in order to expand poetry beyond the printed page. Starting in the mid-1980s, he began collaborating with American and European artists, from the widely celebrated to the young and emerging. The collaborations took the form of paintings, drawings, artist books, prints, postcards, objects, clothing, and jazz compositions.  Starting in the late 1970s, he began writing reviews and essays for art magazines, galleries, and museums in the late 1970s. ) Since 2002, he has taught contemporary art history in the art department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University). He has written monographs on many artists, most recently, Liu Xiaodong (2021) and Joe Brainard: The Art of the Personal (2022). His most recent book of essays is Please Wait by the Coatroom: Reconsidering Race and Identity In American Art. In 2012, he began writing reviews regularly for the online magazine, Hyperallergic.  He has published more than 20 books of poetry.  


The following bibliographical section is a work in progress: please contact us if you see a missing title & wish to add it to one of the bibliographies below.



  • Crossing Canal Street, Bellevue Press, 1976
  • Sometimes, Tilbury House Pub, 1980
  • Broken Off by the Music, Burning Deck, 1981
  • Corpse and Mirror, Henry Holt & Company, 1983
  • Edificio Sayonara, Black Sparrow Press, 1992
  • Forbidden Entries, Black Sparrow Press, 1996
  • Berlin Diptychon, Timken Publisher, 1995
  • Borrowed Love Poems, Penguin Books, 2002
  • Ing Grish, Saturnalia Books, 2005
  • Paradiso Diaspora, Penguin Books, 2006
  • Exhibits, Letter Machine Editions, 2010
  • Egyptian Sonnets, Rain Taxi, 2012
  • Further Adventures in Monochrome, Copper Canyon Press, 2012
  • Bijoux in the Dark, Letter Machine Editions, 2018
  • Genghis Chan on Drums, Omnidawn, 2021
  • Tell It Slant, Omnidawn, 2023


Criticism, Essays, Art Books

  • The sleepless night of Eugene Delacroix, Small Press, 1980
  • Miklos Pogany, Paintings and Works on Paper, Phillips Collections, 1985
  • Roger Brown, George Braziller, 1987
  • Radiant Silhouette: New and Selected Work 1974-1988, Black Sparrow, 1989
  • Four Painters: Michael Kessler, Archie Rand, Mark Schlesinger, Lynton Wells, Flint Inst of Arts, 1989
  • Yuri Kuper: Recent work, Claude Bernard Gallery, 1989
  • Big City Primer: Reading New York at the End of the Twentieth Century, Timken Publishers, 1991
  • A.R. Penck, Harry N. Abrams Press, 1993
  • In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol, The Ecco Press, 1993
  • Ed Moses: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings 1951-1996, University of California Press, 1996
  • In Pursuit of the Invisible, Hard Press, 1996
  • The United States of Jasper Johns, Zoland Books, 1997
  • Max Gimblett , Craig Potton Publishing, 2000
  • Don Gummer–sculpture: Essay, Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, 2000
  • Dazzling Water Dazzling Light: Pat Steir Paintings, University of Washington Press, 2000
  • Randy Hayes: The World Reveiled, Oglethorpe University Museum, 2000
  • Tom Uttech : New Paintings, Alexandre Gallery, 2004
  • Mark Di Suvero, Knoedler & Company, 2005
  • James Siena : New Paintings and Gouaches, Pace Wildenstein, 2005
  • The Passionate Spectator: Essays on Art and Poetry, University of Michigan Press, 2006
  • A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns, D.A.P, 2008
  • Will Ryman : A New Beginning, Marlborough Chelsea, 2009
  • William Tillyer : Watercolours, 21 Publishing Ltd, 2010
  • Nicholas Krushenick : A Survey, Gary Snyder Gallery, 2011
  • Sam Francis, Bernard Jacobson Ltd, 2014
  • The Wild Children of William Blake, Autonomedia, 2017
  • Thomas Nozkowski, Lund Humphries, 2017
  • Please Wait by the Coatroom: Reconsidering Race and Identity in American Art, Black Sparrow Press, 2023

Editorial Work

  • Fetish: An Anthology, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998
  • New Smoke: An Anthology Of Poetry Inspired By Neo Rauch, Off the Park Press, 2009
  • « What’s It All Mean: William T. Wiley » in Retrospect, University of California Press, 2009
  • Viva La Difference: Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Peter Saul, Off the Park Press, 2010
  • The Triumph of Poverty: Poetry Inspired by the Work of Nicole Eisenman, Off the Park Press, 2012
  • Richard Artschwager: Into the Desert, Black Dog Publishing, 2014



“A Symposium on John Yau, Commentary and Criticism”: Talisman Special Issue on John Yau (JSTOR open access – click on image)

Critical Bibliography

  • Birns, Nicholas. “John Yau.” In Asian American Writers, edited by Deborah L. Madsen, 348–58. Dictionary of Literary Biography: 312. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale; Gale Cengage, 2005.
  • Campbell, Bruce. “‘Pieces of a Piece.’” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 126–34.
  • Caples, Garrett. “John Yau.” In American Short-Story Writers since World War II: Third Series, edited by Patrick Meanor and Richard E. Lee, 305–15. Dictionary of Literary Biography: 234. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale; Gale Cengage, 2001.
  • Chaloner, David. “On John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 113–14.
  • Cooperman, Matthew. “What the Poet Sees: An Interview with John Yau.” Jubilat 19 (2011): 26–49.
  • Corbett, William. “On John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 114–15.
  • Donahue, Joseph. “Harmonic Interferences: A Note on John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 118–19.
  • Fickle, Tara. “English Before Engrish: Asian American Poetry’s Unruly Tongue.” Comparative Literature Studies 51, no. 1 (2014): 78–105. doi:10.5325/complitstudies.51.1.0078.
  • Foster, Edward Halsey. “John Yau and the Seductions of Everything That Used to Be.” MultiCultural Review 3, no. 1 (March 1994): 36–39.
  • Foster, Edward. “An Interview with John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 31–50.
  • Foster, Edward. “John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 31.
  • Foster, Edward. “John Yau: A Selected Bibliography.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 147–51.
  • Hemensley, Kris. “On John Yau.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 116–18.
  • Huang, Yunte. “Pidginizing Chinese.” In Bilingual Games: Some Literary Investigations, edited by Doris Sommer, 205–20. New Directions in Latino American Cultures. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan (London), 2003.
  • Jeon, Joseph Jonghyun. Racial Things, Racial Forms: Objecthood in Avant-Garde Asian American Poetry. Contemporary North American Poetry Series. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2012.
  • Kim, Hyo. “The Pleasure of Indeterminacy: John Yau’s ‘Genghis Chan: Private Eye.’” College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 48, no. 2 (2021): 233–58.
  • Lagapa, Jason. “Parading the Undead: Camp, Horror and Reincarnation in the Poetry of Frank O’Hara and John Yau.” Journal of Modern Literature 33, no. 2 (2010): 92–113. doi:10.2979/JML.2010.33.2.92.
  • Lee, Merton. “A Canon of Alterity: John Yau’s Corpse and Mirror.” In Positioning the New: Chinese American Literature and the Changing Image of the American Literary Canon, edited by Tanfer Emin Tunc and Elisabetta Marino, 143–55. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
  • Leong, Michael. “Neo-Surrealism’s Forked Tongue: Reflections on the Dramatic Monologue, Politics, and Community in the Recent Poetry of Will Alexander and John Yau.” Contemporary Literature 55, no. 3 (2014): 501–33. doi:10.1353/cli.2014.0027.
  • Malroux, Claire. “La Poésie Au Fronton de La Ville: Jenny Holzer.” Po&sie 120 (2007): 248–55. doi:10.3917/poesi.120.0248.
  • Mar, Christine. “The Language of Ethnicity: John Yau’s Poetry and the Ethnic/Aesthetic Divide.” In Literary Gestures: The Aesthetic in Asian American Writing, edited by Rocío G. Davis and Sue-Im Lee, 70–85. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2006.
  • Mobilio, Albert. “The Dream Science of John Yau’s ‘Dragon’s Blood.’” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 119–20.
  • Morris, Daniel. “Strangers and Oneself: John Yau’s Writings on Contemporary Art.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 21–22 (2001): 45–57.
  • Morris, Daniel. Remarkable Modernisms: Contemporary American Authors on Modern Art. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002.
  • Peterson, Eric. “A Bughouse Interaction.” Bughouse 2 (1994): 47–59.
  • Rohrer, Matthew. “John Yau.” In The VERSE Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft, and Culture, edited by Brian Henry and Andrew Zawacki, 177–98. Amherst, MA: Verse Press, 2005.
  • Schelb, Edward N. “Embalmed in the Camera’s Glowing Formaldehyde: On John Yau’s Hollywood Asians.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory 18, no. 1 (2016): 81–95. doi:10.5325/intelitestud.18.1.0081.
  • Schelb, Edward. “Corpse and Mirror, Mirror and Corpse: John Yau and the Paintings of Jasper Johns.” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry 23, no. 2 (April 2007): 211–22. doi:10.1080/02666286.2007.10435781.
  • Wald, Priscilla. “‘Chaos Goes Uncourted’: John Yau’s Dis(-)Orienting Poetics.” In Cohension and Dissent in America, edited by Carol Colatrella and Joseph Alkana, 133–58. SUNY Series in American Literature. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.
  • Wald, Priscilla. “Guilt by Dissociation: John Yau’s Poetics of Possibility.” Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 5 (1990): 121–25.
  • Wang, Dorothy J. “Undercover Asian: John Yau and the Politics of Ethnic Self-Identification.” In Asian American Literature in the International Context: Readings on Fiction, Poetry, and Performance, edited by Rocío G. Davis and Sämi Ludwig, 135–55. Contributions to Asian American Literary Studies: 1. Hamburg, Germany: LIT Verlag, 2002.
  • Wang, Dorothy J. “Undercover Asian: John Yau and the Politics of Ethnic Self-Identification.” Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2013, p. 162-204.
  • Wang, Dorothy J. “Genghis Chan: Parodying Private Eye.” Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2013, p. 205-243.
  • Yao, Steven. “Oceanic Etymologies: Shanghai and the Transpacific Routes of Global Modernity.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 3, no. 1 (2017): 77–106. doi:10.5749/vergstudglobasia.3.1.0077.
  • Yao, Steven. “‘The Owner of One Pock-Marked Tongue’: John Yau and the Logic of Ethnic Abstraction.” Foreign Accents: Chinese American Verse from Exclusion to Postethnicity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 231-264.
  • Yu, Timothy. “Forgotten Capital: Touring Berlin with John Yau and Bill Barrette.” Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics 23 (2010): 105–15.
  • Yu, Timothy. “Form and Identity in Language Poetry and Asian American Poetry.” Contemporary Literature 41, no. 3 (2000): 422–61. doi:10.2307/1208892.
  • Yu, Timothy. “John Yau and Experimental Asian American Writing.” Race and the Avant-Garde, Experimental and Asian American Poetry Since 1965, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2009, p. 138-159.
  • Zhou, Xiaojing. “Postmodernism and Subversive Parody: John Yau’s ‘Genghis Chan: Private Eye’ Series.” College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 31, no. 1 (2004): 73–102.
  • Zhou, Xiaojing. “Two Hat Softeners ‘In the Trade Confession’: John Yau and Kimiko Hahn.” In Form and Transformation in Asian American Literature, edited by Xiaojing Zhou and Samina Najmi, 168–89. The Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2005.