Wong, Nellie 1934-

views updated

Wong, Nellie 1934-


Born September 12, 1934, in Oakland, CA. Ethnicity: Chinese. Education: Attended San Francisco State University.


Home—San Francisco, CA.


Poet. Bethlehem Steel Corporation, secretary, 1952-82; University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, senior analyst in affirmative action, until 1998; University of Minnesota, teacher of women's studies; Mills College, Oakland, CA, poetry writing teacher; cofounder and performer with Unbound Feet, Asian American feminist literary and performance group.


Freedom Socialist Party, Radical Women, Bay Area United against War.


Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park (poems), Kelsey Street Press (Berkeley, CA) 1977.

The Death of Long Steam Lady (poems), West End Press (Los Angeles, CA) 1986.

Stolen Moments, Chicory Blue Press (Goshen, CT), 1997.

(Editor and author of introduction, with Yolanda Alaniz) Voices of Color, Red Letter Press (Seattle, WA), 1999.

(With Merle Woo and Mitsuye Yamada) Three Asian American Writers Speak Out on Feminism, Red Letter Press (Seattle, WA), 2003.

Contributor to over two hundred anthologies and publications.


Nellie Wong was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Growing up, she worked as a waitress at her parents' restaurant, and then, after graduating from high school, took a job as a secretary. In her mid-thirties, Wong began taking classes at San Francisco State University, and it was at that time that she began to seriously study and write poetry. She was heavily influenced by the turmoil of the time—the 1960s—as well as by her courses. She also became involved in the feminist discussions on campus, joining the Women's Writers Union, as well as Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party. Her political views were reflected in her writing. In 1977, Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park, her first volume of poetry, was published by Kelsey Street Press, and was ultimately the most successful book the publisher ever produced. She has published several more books of poetry, including The Death of Long Steam Lady and Stolen Moments. She also wrote Three Asian American Writers Speak Out on Feminism, with Merle Woo and Mitsuye Yamada. The book includes poetry, prose, book reviews, and essays, all combined to offer a look at the growth of feminist thought, particularly on ethnic and political issues. Jolie Sheffer, in a review for Iris: A Journal about Women, called the book "an important contribution to feminism and ethnic studies."



Finch, Annie, editor, A Formal Feeling Comes, Story Line Press (Brownsville, OR), 1994.

Kesselman, Amy, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind, editors, Women: Images and Reality: A Multicultural Anthology, Mayfield Publishing (Mountain View, CA), 1995.

Roundtree, Catherine, On Women Turning 60: Embracing the Age of Fulfillment, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1997.


Hawaii Pacific Review, Volume 13, 1999, Cindy Lum, review of Stolen Moments.

Iris: A Journal about Women, September 22, 2003, Jolie Sheffer, review of Three Asian American Writers Speak Out on Feminism, p. 91.


San Francisco Gate Online,http://www.sfgate.com/ (March 9, 1998), review of Stolen Moments.

University of Minnesota Voices Web site,http://voices.cla.umn.edu/ (June 27, 2007), faculty biography.


Light, Allie, and Irving Saraf, Mitsuye & Nellie, Asian American Poets (film), Women Making Movies, 1981.

About this article

Wong, Nellie 1934-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article