Of Flesh & Spirit

Poetry by Wang Ping

April 1, 1998 • 6 x 9 • 104 pages • 978-1-56689-068-7

Life interpreted, written, and emulated in the style of the Tao, spiced with experiences of NYC.

This is Ping’s first collection of poetry, in which she explores themes of culture, gender, sexuality, and identity. The collection adopts a very personal tone to explore internal struggles—the devils and angels—and highlights moments of ecstasy throughout.

About the Author

Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the East China Sea. After three years of farming in a mountain village, she attended Beijing University. In 1985 she left China to study in the U.S., earning her Ph.D. from New York University.

Her books include two collections of poetry, The Magic Whip and Of Flesh & Spirit, the cultural study Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China, the novel Foreign Devil, two collections of fiction stories entitled American Visa and The Last Communist Virgin, and a book of Chinese folk lore, The Dragon Emperor. Wang is also the editor and co-translator of the anthology New Generation: Poetry from China Today and co-translator of Flames by Xue Di.

The Last Communist Virgin was winner of the 2008 Minnesota Book Awards in the category of Novel & Short Story and the 2007 Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies in the category of Poetry/Prose. The Magic Whip was a 2004 finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and received an honorable mention from the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, and Aching for Beauty was a 2001 Minnesota Book Award finalist and winner of the University of Colorado’s Eugene M. Kayden Book Award for “the best book in the humanities published by an American university press.”

Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 1993 and 1996. She is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Loft Literary Center, and Bush Foundation, and she was a recipient of the Lannan Residency Program in 2007. She currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and teaches creative writing at Macalester College.


“Riveting, confessional, fierce poetry. In poetic superstitions, Wang Ping makes her singular way with passion and vigor. She explodes the safe boundaries of culture, gender, and female sexuality. These meditations reveal the incongruities between Byzantine bureaucracy and the needs of a free spirit.” —Anne Waldman

“Wang Ping’s poems are most notable for their incisive images and psychological acuity. Of Flesh & Spirit journeys from China to America and weaves passion and memoir into a shining loop.” —Arthur Sze