Episode 15: Interview with Wendy Chin-Tanner / by Claudia Savage

Wendy Chin-Tanner, author of the poetry collections Turn (a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards) and Anyone Will Tell You (both from Sibling Rivalry Press), as well as co-author of the graphic novel American Terrorist (A Wave Blue World), is the mother of two daughters, married to a graphic novelist, co-founder of A Wave Blue World, and the proud daughter of immigrants. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and educated at Cambridge, she talks with us about how racism kept her from writing for a decade and motherhood brought her back. If ever there was an artist who was able to talk with deep eloquence and insight about the necessity of a creative life when you are a mother, it is Wendy.

“In 2007, when I had my first child, somehow in that kind of postpartum space, it cracked open my consciousness, a kind of time-space portal, and poems started pouring out. “


“I got an agent in London right out of college from a single poem in a journal…. I went for the first guy that approached me. I didn’t know my ass from my elbow…. I didn’t understand as a woman of color that I didn’t have structural support…he wanted me to make my characters white in a screenplay…. After he dropped me, I didn’t write for 10 years.”

“Motherhood is a repository for social fantasies. It is the Tom & Jerry show in my house.”

Wendy and her family

Wendy and her family

“I was telling my husband to take my writing time because he had a pressing deadline. But that’s the wrong thing to do. Even if I need to sit in my office and stare at the wall, that’s what I need to do.”

Wendy Chin-Tanner author website

A Wave Blue World (Wendy and Tyler’s graphic novel independent publisher)