Cathy Song

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Cathy-Lynn Song
Born (1955-08-20) August 20, 1955 (age 63)
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Occupation Poet, creative writing professor
Nationality American
Alma mater Boston University - (Master's degree, 1981)
Period 1982–present
Genre Poetry
Notable works Picture Bride
Notable awards Yale Younger Poets Award, 1982; Shelley Memorial Award; Hawaii Award for Literature
Children 3[1]

Cathy Song (born Cathy-Lynn Song; August 20, 1955) is an American poet. She is the 1982 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for her collection Picture Bride.

Personal life[edit]

Song was born in Wahiawa, Hawaii. She is the second of three children born to Ella, an immigrant from China[where?] who was a seamstress, and Andrew Song, a Korean American airline pilot.[2][3][4][5] Song's father and grandfather both had arranged marriages. They corresponded solely through photographs and were married when their wives came to the United States a few years later.[6][7][8]

In 1962, when she was 7 years old, the family relocated to Honolulu. Song graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelor's degree in 1977 and from Boston University in 1981 with a master's degree in Creative Writing. While living in Boston, she married Douglas Davenport, then a physician-in-training. In 1984, they moved to Colorado for Davenport's medical training and settled back to Hawaii in 1987. The couple have three children and now reside in Kahala, Hawaii.[9]


Song was associated with the Hawaii literary journal Bamboo Ridge from its early days in 1978, and continues to collaborate with writers from that community.[1] Her first book of poetry, Picture Bride (1983), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. In choosing Song's first book for the Yale Series, Richard Hugo wrote, "Her poems are flowers: colorful, sensual, and quiet, and they are offered almost shyly as bouquets to those moments in life that seemed minor but in retrospect count the most. She often reminds a loud, indifferent, hard world of what truly matters to the human spirit."[10]

In 1993, Song won the Hawaii Award for Literature.[11] That same year, the Poetry Society of America awarded Song the Shelley Memorial Award. In the early fall of 1994, she was invited to travel to Korea and Hong Kong under the United States Information Agency's Arts America program.[citation needed] In 1997, Song was one of the recipients of the annual Literature Awards ($20,000), awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chun, Gary C.W. (13 January 2002). "Poet sings of journey of life: Cathy Song's poetry lives and breathes". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Cathy Song (1955– )". Cliffs Notes. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Cathy Song (1955 - )". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  4. ^ Leonard 1999, p. 476.
  5. ^ Gayle K. Fujita-Sato (Spring 2006). "Third World" as Place and Paradigm in Cathy Song's "Picture Bride" "MELUS". Vol 15, No. 1
  6. ^ "American Poets of the 20th Century. The Poets: Cathy Song (1955-)". Cliff Notes.
  7. ^ "School Figures by Cathy Song, Author". Publisher's Weekly.
  8. ^ Asian-American Poets: A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook (Google eBook). Huang, Guiyou. Nelson, Emmanuel. 2002.
  9. ^ Asian-American poets: a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook. Huang, Guiyou. 2002. p. 275
  10. ^ Hugo, Richard; Song, Cathy (1983). "Foreword". Picture Bride. New Haven: Yale UP. pp. ix–xiv. ISBN 978-0-300-02969-7. 
  11. ^ "Clear the stage for Island Writers". Maui News. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "1997 Annual Report" (PDF). National Endowment for the Arts. pp. 107–109. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 

Critical studies[edit]

as of March 2008:

  1. Cathy Song By: Huh, Jinny. IN: Madsen, Asian American Writers. Detroit, MI: Gale; 2005. pp. 283–87
  2. Body and Female Subjectivity in Cathy Song's Picture Bride By: Chen, Fu-Jen; Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2004 July-Aug; 33 (5): 577-612.
  3. Snapshots in History: Re-Reading Ethnic Subjects in Cathy Song By: Van Dyne, Susan R. IN: Hsu, Franklin and Kosanke, Re-Placing America: Conversations and Contestations: Selected Essays. Honolulu: College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, U of Hawaii, with East-West Center; 2000. pp. 181–98
  4. Breaking from Tradition: Experimental Poems by Four Contemporary Asian American Women Poets By: Xiaojing, Zhou; Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 1998 Nov; 37: 199-218.
  5. Cathy Song By: Schultz, Susan M. IN: Conte, American Poets since World War II: Fifth Series. Detroit: Thomson Gale; 1996. pp. 267–74
  6. Women Disclosed: Cathy Song's Poetry and Kitagawa Ukiyoe By: Usui, Masami; Studies in Culture and the Humanities, 1995; 1-19. (journal article)
  7. Korean-American Literature: The Next Generation By: Lee, Kyhan; Korea Journal, 1994 Spring; 34 (1): 20-35. (journal article)
  8. Artistic and Cultural Mothering in the Poetics of Cathy Song By: Cobb, Nora Okja. IN: Ng, Yung, Fugita, and Kim, New Visions in Asian American Studies: Diversity, Community, Power. Pullman, WA: Washington State UP; 1994. pp. 223–34
  9. Divided Loyalties: Literal and Literary in the Poetry of Lorna Dee Cervantes, Cathy Song and Rita Dove By: Wallace, Patricia; MELUS, 1993 Fall; 18 (3): 3-19.
  10. 'Third World' as Place and Paradigm in Cathy Song's Picture Bride By: Fujita-Sato, Gayle K.; MELUS, 1988 Spring; 15 (1): 49-72.