Alien Daughters Walk Into the Sun
An Almanac of Extreme Girlhood
408 pp., 5 x 8 in, 20 b&w illus.
- Published: November 21, 2023
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
The early writings of renowned poet and critical theorist Jackie Wang, drawn from her early zines, indie-lit crit, and prolific early 2000s blog.
Compiled as a field guide, travelogue, essay collection, and weather report, Alien Daughters Walk into the Sun traces Jackie Wang's trajectory from hard femme to Harvard, from dumpster dives and highway bike rides to dropping out of an MFA program, becoming a National Book Award finalist, and writing her trenchant book Carceral Capitalism. Alien Daughters charts the dream-seeking misadventures of an “odd girl” from Florida who emerged from punk houses and early Tumblr to become the powerful writer she is today. Anarchic and beautifully personal, Alien Daughters is a strange intellectual autobiography that demonstrates Wang's singular self-education: an early life lived where every day and every written word began like the Tarot's Fool, with a leap of faith.
Jackie Wang is dissolute. She refuses the word "work" so her writing is full of location and devoid of it, continuing I guess what was really ripe in the '70s about what a sentence is and what "my" mind is doing today. It's not all lost territory but Alien Daughters, most of all, is just profoundly beautiful, hellish new writing. I feel fucking lucky to have this suitcase of Jackie's, these pets of hers, deflating and surging, bobbing & rocking here right now. Something glorious. What can it be?
Alien Daughters Walk Into the Sun is a patchwork epic of feral girlhood, faithful to the subterranean dignity of its materials—dreams, zines, and Tumblr posts. Jackie Wang has written a book I've been waiting my whole life to read.
Wang is her own unique force. I'm dazzled by her brilliant mind, capacious imagination, and where she takes us, her startling lines carrying the shock of recognition.
Shelley Wong, Poetry Society of America
Absolutely personal, like a plant or a dream, Jackie's handbook of how to live backwards tumbles through the tumult of a dying and resurrecting world. Jackie appears in these pages as a playful high-priestess spider holding together the weave of a web that leads to the punk house and the prison and the university library and the inner world and the underworld and so on. This writing is very alive as in decomposing into the cosmos. To quote her: “the gift of the word has been given to women who are not afraid of the rapture of turning themselves inside out.