November news & events

Hi friends, it’s been a BUSY pub month. Thank you to everyone who has bought my book, attended one of my events, read with me, shared one of my posts, or otherwise supported me through this crazy time. Here are some updates from the last month, upcoming events, and recordings of past events ICYMI.

Features, reviews, & interviews

  • For Literary Hub, I wrote “How to Write an Obituary For Your Mother,” an essay meditating on language and grief.
  • For the Poetry Foundation/Harriet Books, Ryo Yamaguchi wrote a lovely micro-review of Focal Point.
  • Interviews in ZYZZYZVA, Sine Theta, and The Racket about science, grief, a sense of place, and more.
  • For Full Stop, my longtime friend Kelly Swope wrote an expansive and thoughtful review that made me feel so seen: “Focal Point, like the Greek epics it frequently references, is… an inner odyssey through illness and loss that imparts the difficult lesson that to live is to grieve.”
  • From Vitni Review: “If contemporary grief writing can be characterized as an ongoing conversation concerning tradition, memory, and death, then Focal Point is among the strongest examples of poets writing on those topics today, and one of the most intriguing poetic debuts in recent years.”
  • Focal Point was featured in this roundup in the Washington Independent Review of Books

Events (learn more here)

  • 11/15 7pm PT: Odd Mondays Reading Series (VIRTUAL)
  • 11/22 6pm PT: Book Jewel in Los Angeles (IN-PERSON)
  • 11/30 6pm PT: Nomadic Press (VIRTUAL)
  • 12/15: Bellevue Literary Review panel (recorded)

Because we are in a Zoom world these days, a lot of my past events have been recorded, so you can watch if you missed them in real time:

The Poetry of Science with Jane Hirshfield, Kimiko Hahn, and Sarah Sala, moderated by Elizabeth Coleman and hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Watch below.

You can also find my reading with Teresa K. Miller at Green Apple Books, my reading and conversation with LJ Moore-McClelland for the UCSF Alumni Author Series, & my Rattlecast episode.


I started a Mailchimp newsletter last month and will use that to send (very occasional) event updates directly to your inbox. Here’s the first one with an option to subscribe if you’re interested. I’ll probably send out another email in January to announce my spring 2022 events. If you follow this blog, you can also get these monthly-ish updates in your inbox.

Until next time.

September news

Dear friends, we’re about 40 days away from the Focal Point publication day, and lots of updates are coming your way. (August updates are here.)

Upcoming events (all virtual):
  • Tomorrow, September 4th at 5pm PT, I’m reading at Beast Crawl with Lyrics & Dirges, a really awesome reading series hosted by MK Chavez and Sharon Coleman.
  • September 16th at 5pm PT, I’ll be reading with Susan Nguyen & Roy Guzmán in celebration of Susan’s book Dear Diaspora.
  • Please save the date for my launch event for Focal Point, hosted by The Booksmith, one of my favorite bookstores! I’ll be reading with my dear dear friends Francesca Bell and Mariya Zilberman. October 13th at 6pm PT, more info to come.
  • Please check out my events page for all upcoming events. I’ll share another update when I finalize my fall tour schedule.
Publications & features:
  • “This is an instagram poem,” a brand new poem not in Focal Point, was published in issue 52 of The Racket. Read it here.
  • @taylorswift_as_books featured Focal Point!
Early reviews of Focal Point:
  • “Jenny Qi’s Focal Point examines the intersections brought together by a dying loved one….  Her poems are stories of deep and incisive searching. Qi’s style and emotion fill her poetry with relatability as the reader understands, expands as the reader wonders. Yet grief makes the heart a kaleidoscope and there is an opportunity to look within for the beyond. As with a frozen pond, or smoke escaping, Qi describes how the heart both expands and contracts with emotional and scientific proof.”—Sara Paye at the Sierra Nevada Review
  • “Focal Point is an attentive study of the human condition—it has immortalized, sculpted something out of a plethora of loss.”—Handwritten & Co.
Other bookish news:
  • I got a bit behind on the Sealey Challenge, but here’s my roundup of the 25 books I did manage to read last month.
  • Onto #SeptWomenPoets, at a time when women’s voices are needed more than ever. Follow along with my Instagram stories or on Twitter, & I’ll also post a roundup of those at the end of the month/beginning of next.
  • I very casually run the bookstagram account @poetry_plus_plants, and September’s feature is Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun, which also happened to be book 1 for #SeptWomenPoets.

Focal Point cover reveal & pre-order info

Friends! I’m so excited to finally share my book cover, designed by my brilliant friend Hilary Steinberg. I also have a book page here, and pre-order is available through Steel Toe Books and elsewhere (all links are available on the book page).

Some backstory on this cover: I took the photo in Mammoth Lakes, CA last summer, before I found out that my book would be published. What makes this cover extra meaningful for me is that Hilary is one of my oldest friends and one of so few people remaining in my life who remembers my mother. It’s so special to me that I was able to work with her on this.