Poetry Centre

  • Confessions of a Minority Student

    I have forgotten how it all started, success
    this tightening of my throat grows success
    I cannot breathe. Suddenly success
    college dorms and students’ smiles success
    nauseate me. Here where I used to success
    imagine a promising life, a new circle success
    away from family, honest folks success
    who worked and worked, and never lived. success
    Choices they never made in their sagging skin success
    the fine lines around their eyes. success
    for those who could afford it, my dear. success
    So who am I to believe in it? success
    But I must prove that I too success
    am good enough for this game success
    Don’t be so sensitive, you say. success
    But even racism in its simplest form success

    is brutal, a day-to-day butchering.


    They say make yourself at home here success
    though today, just like yesterday or success
    the day before, no one joins me success
    at the canteen as I eat my meal. success
    Who wishes to know my thoughts success
    as I cube the potatoes in silence? success

    It is not alright to be lonely.


    Jennifer Wong

    Listen to the poem

    Jennifer Wong talks about her poem

    Born and raised in Hong Kong, Jennifer is the author of two collections including Goldfish (Chameleon Press). Her work has been published appeared in The Rialto, Stand, Oxford Poetry, Asian Cha and others, while her poetry translation and reviews have also appeared in Poetry London and Poetry Review. She has recently completed a PhD on notions of place and identity in contemporary diasporic poetry in Oxford Brookes where she teaches as an Associate Lecturer. 

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to really articulate what racism feels like until coming here. So when I am here I get excluded from things, you get spoken over, you get checked for your ID several times by security; it’s frustrating. You’re the last table anybody ever wants to sit on when you’re the black girls. People look everywhere everywhere for a space and then eventually they’ll come and sit near you, and it’s like: OK, I see you there. You’re in a lecture and you’re like excited because you’ve spent six grand, you’ve given up your job to come and be here, you’ve worked hard to get your Masters, and then the whole curriculum is telling you about people who have enslaved your people and you’re asked to applaud their work.

    An interview with a Brookes student