Yanyi is a writer and critic. He graduated from Columbia University in 2013 and holds an MFA in poetry from New York University.
Yanyi is the author of Dream of the Divided Field (One World Books, 2022) and The Year of Blue Water (Yale University Press, 2019). The Year of Blue Water was selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2018 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and was a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards transgender poetry category. Per The Rumpus, “Yanyi’s poems weave experiences of immigration as a Chinese American, of racism, of mental wellness, and of gender from a queer and trans perspective. Between the contrast of high lyric and direct prose poems, Yanyi invites the reader to consider how to speak with multiple identities through trauma, transition, and ordinary life.”
Yanyi’s work has been featured in or at NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Public Library, Tin House, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Granta, Poetry, A Public Space, and many other publications. He is also the author of the chapbook DIARY (Belladonna* Collaborative, 2016). The recipient of fellowships from Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Poets House, and the Millay Colony for the Arts, Yanyi worked as a curatorial assistant at the Poetry Project. He wrote the creative writing advice column The Reading from 2020 to 2022, and from 2016 to 2021, he was the poetry editor at Foundry.
Yanyi is the recipient of a 2023 Vermont Arts Council Grant and a 2022 Tanne Foundation Award. He has taught creative writing at New York University and Dartmouth College, among other institutions, and he currently teaches creative writing at large.
Photo by Matthew Thompson.