Design, Exhibition, and Acquisition News

Being immersed in so many interesting projects, I haven’t spent as much time online as I used to. So this is a brief recap of some exciting events in the past few months to share.

Photo by Bethany Swann

Photo by Bethany Swann

Virtual Tour of John Ashbery’s Home

After several years of design, development, and production, the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory in collaboration with Ashbery biographer Karin Roffman launched the virtual tour of John Ashbery’s home on February 5, 2019. I had the honor and pleasure of serving as the UX Designer on the project, helping to shape the aesthetics and visual design of the experience and even voicing readings of selected poems. It was a team effort to integrate the detailed 360° views of the home and collections, beautifully captured by VRHabitat, into a robust web environment provided by the Yale ITS web development team in a way that highlights Karin Roffman’s unparalleled scholarship on this legendary poet’s life and artistic work.

Center for Book Arts Exhibition & Yale Acquisition

Last fall, selected works from Silent Anatomies were displayed alongside new works at the Center for Book Arts in a Featured Artist Project show titled Monica Ong: Celestial Bodies, curated by Alexander Campos. It was a lovely place for some of the poetry installations to conclude their many years touring in exhibitions, as they were then acquired into the permanent collection of the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the beginning of this year. I also shared recent experiments in poetry and astronomy and enjoyed meeting folks who share a love of poetry, book arts, and sciences.

Monica’s Artist Talk

Monica’s Artist Talk

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

There is still a lot cooking that I hope to share more updates on. In the meantime, sign up for my newsletter (which yes, I need to get back to!).

+Art of Collaboration Exhibition @ Beinecke Library

A new exhibition title + The Art of Collaboration recently opened at the Yale Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which explores a range of works and archives that reveal the play and process of collaboration in arts and letters. I was so pleased to be part of the exhibition as a contributing artist in Asian American Tarot: A Mental Health Project, "a new deck of tarot cards, featuring original art and text, revealing the hidden contours of our Asian American lives" which was directed by the amazing editors of the Asian American Literary Review.

+Art of Collaboration banner in the lobby featuring artwork based on my father's archive (right).

+Art of Collaboration banner in the lobby featuring artwork based on my father's archive (right).

To my pleasant surprise, it was also neat to a photo from my father's archives on display in the lobby alongside such incredible company. Special thanks to the amazing curators: Nancy Kuhl, Melissa Barton, and Elizabeth Frengel. The exhibition will be on display through April 15, 2018 so come by if you are nearby! 


Cultural Silence and APA Health: Artist Talk at Chinese School in Greenwich

Silent Treatment

Silent Treatment

I'm pleased to be giving an artist talk on Sunday, October 5, 10:30 am, at the Chinese Language School of Connecticut, Located at the Eastern Middle School in Greenwich, CT. Along with presenting artwork and poetry from my forthcoming book Silent Anatomies, there will also be a discussion about health resources in Connecticut for Asian Americans. It's thrilling for me as an artist because it's a way of taking art that is often limited to galleries or libraries and connecting directly with parents and families.

One of the goals of my work is to raise awareness about the way we silence ourselves and how those consequences play out in the APA community's health outcomes. Whether it's stigma about mental health issues or domestic abuse, or lack of services that provide translation or culturally aware health professionals, I hope these conversations help to generate a shift from silence to dialogue within the community.

Special thanks to the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission for their guidance and for providing useful materials on health resources.

March 23 Reading at the Brooklyn Museum

I'm delighted to announce that I'll be reading at the Brooklyn Museum on March 23 as part of a panel, "The Fearsome BMI: Women Artists and Representations of the Body," hosted by Judith Brodsky of the Rutger's Institute for Women and Art. This will be one of a two-part series of discussions for Women's History Month:

This panel at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center, Brooklyn Museum,  will include speakers who will address contemporary mainstream ideals of beauty and health and their impact on women and diversity as seen through the eyes of contemporary women artists and scholars.

Come check it out!

First Person Plural: The Recap

I'm telling you, Harlem is where it's at! It was exhilarating to be reading alongside novelists Stacey D'Erasmo and Michael Thomas at the Shrine for the First Person Plural Reading Series. Here is their recap:


Monica Ong combined projected images and poems to stunning effect.  Her first image was a childhood photograph of her mother gathered with her mother and six siblings. The accompanying poem revealed that her mother was one of the three “boys,” dressed and staged so that the family would not lose face from a surfeit of girls.  Her next images and poems brought us into human physiology, giving voice to the silent mechanisms of the body– to the body’s frightening failures and the way we fail our bodies through cultural mores and silence.  She closed with a moving poem written for the FPP reading in response to the Sandy Hook shootings.


Not only did poets from my Kundiman family come to support, but I was also reuinited with my writing professor from RISD, Wendy Walters, who now teaches at the New School. My best friend from college, Kathy, and her mom also made the long trek to catch the reading as well. The crowd at the Shrine was incredibly warm and welcoming, especially on a cold January evening, and the FPP hosts were just lovely. Thank you Stacy, Amy, and of course, Wendy!

First Person Plural Reading on January 28

For those of you in the New York City area, I'll be presenting my art and poetry at the First Person Plural Redding Series on January 28! This is a Harlem-based reading series founded by Wendy Walters, Amy Benson, and Stacy Parker Le Melle showcasing work created from the collective "we".

Check out my First Person Plural Interview, discussing process, translation, and more.

The evening also features novelists Stacey D'Erasmo and Michael Thomas, with opening and closing sets by DJ Lady DM starting at 6:45 pm. Meet us at Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Junior Boulevard, New York, NY

Poetry Reading @ University of New Haven


Just wanted to let you know that I'll be a featured reader for the Arts @ Night series at the UNH on Tuesday.

Here is an excerpt of their press release.

NEW HAVEN, CONN. --- A nationally recognized poet and an experimental poet/artist will have poetry readings at the University of New Haven on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Patricia Smith, author of six books of poetry, and Monica Ong, an artist and poet, will read as part of UNH’s Arts@Night series in the Alumni Lounge in Bartels Hall, located on the UNH Main Campus in West Haven.

The program is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the UNH English department and the Elm City Review. For more information, call (213) 932-9991 or email:

Upcoming Poetry Readings

Just wanted to share that I'll be doing a few Open Mic poetry events in the coming weeks! I'll be reading from a series of new poems among so many artists that I admire. Please visit the websites for details of these events!

Thursday, May 19 @ 7pm
The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT

The Poetry Institute of New Haven - I'll be part of the regular Open Mic, which will be followed by featured reader Dimitris Lyacos.

Sunday, May 22 @ 5pm
Verlaine, 110 Rivington St, NYC

Kundiman & Verlaine Reading Series - I'll be part of a oint reading with The Acentos Foundation: Rich Villar, Monica Ong, Christina Olivares & April Naoko Heck

Saturday, June 4 @ 4pm
Supper Club Reading Series - A fusion of fine poetry and fusion dining, I'll be reading alongside Shelly Oria. (Did somebody say Chicken Adobo?)