Poetry. Art. Asian American Studies. Shin Yu Pai's poetry combines bare sensitivity and precision critique. In SIGHTINGS: SELECTED WORKS [2000-2005] she skillfully brings together four different poetic approaches to draw attention to the language of the commonplace and innervate tensions in the social familiar. Each project is drafted with a deft sense of position and line. Shin Yu Pai's poems are concrete objects of concern. Her eye for detail incises the subterranean erotics of gymnasiums, mass transit, and grocery stores. She transports the reader into the fissures of somatic displacement that scar the surface of everyday life. In SIGHTINGS, Shin Yu Pai delivers a rare optic, one capable of uncanny reflection and conveying the immediacy of feeling"—David Michalski.
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Shin Yu Pai is currently Civic Poet of The City of Seattle (2023-2024). From 2015 to 2017, she served as the fourth poet laureate of the city of Redmond. Shin Yu is a poet, essayist, and visual artist and is the author of several books including Less Desolate (Blue Cactus Press, 2023), VIRGA (Empty Bowl, 2021), ENSŌ (Entre Ríos Books, 2020), SIGHTINGS: SELECTED WORKS [2000-2005] (1913 Press, 2007), AUX ARCS (La Alameda, 2013), Adamantine (White Pine, 2010), and Equivalence (La Alameda, 2003). Shin Yu's nonfiction essays have appeared in the New York Times, Tricycle, Atlas Obscura, Off Assignment, Zocalo Public Square, YES! Magazine, Khôra, and South Seattle Emerald.
Shin Yu has been an artist in residence for the Seattle Art Museum and Pacific Science Center. She is a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted for a Stranger Genius Award in Literature in 2014. She is three-time fellow of MacDowell and has also been in residence at Taipei Artist Village, Soul Mountain, The Ragdale Foundation, Centrum, and The National Park Service. Her visual work has been shown at The Dallas Museum of Art, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Three Arts Club of Chicago, and The Museum of American Jazz. Her poetry films have screened at the Zebra Poetry Film Festival and the Northwest Film Forum's Cadence video poetry festival.
She is creator, host, and writer of Ten Thousand Things, a podcast on Asian American stories for KUOW Public Radio, Seattle's NPR affiliate station.