Monica Ong

Monica Ong

She // Her // Hers

[ID: An Asian woman with shoulder-length brown hair poses against a natural backdrop. She is wearing multi-colored earrings and a teal-blue cowl neck.]

Portrait photo by Maler Photography.

Visual Poet
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Barr Foundation.

Monica Ong is the author of Silent Anatomies (Kore Press). Ong’s work has been published in Poetry, Scientific American, The Asian American Literary Review, and is forthcoming in the anthology The Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid Lit Collection (Fonograf Editions).

A Kundiman Poetry Fellow and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Ong’s visual poetry innovates on text+image to surface hidden narratives of women and diaspora. Planetaria, her recent series of astronomy-inspired visual poems, was exhibited at the Poetry Foundation (2022) and the Hunterdon Art Museum (2023).

In 2021, Ong founded Proxima Vera, a micropress specializing in fine press visual poetry editions and literary art objects, many of which have been acquired by institutional collections and museums worldwide.
  • Artwork by Monica Ong
    “The Star Gazer." Planisphere based on the Soochow Astronomical Chart. Reflects a unique poem depending on the alignment of the day and hour. Custom die cutting, letterpress gold foil stamping on 1-ply flurry white and navy cover stock, 7.5 × 7.5 inches.
    [ID: A blue paper disc illustrated with a golden map of the stars and constellations. The golden stars are accompanied by golden text that is illegible from our vantage point. The disc has a central axis so that it may rotate to indicate what constellations can be seen in which direction and at which corresponding time of year. A title on the tool reads, "Star Gazer, Planisphere Poetry."]
  • Artwork by Monica Ong
    "The Way of Milk." Collage with archival photo and public domain map of the Milky Way, "The Starry Grandeur of the Milky Way," from The Circle of Knowledge: A Classified, Simplified, Visualized Book of Answers.
    [ID: An image with overlapping layers. The foundational layer is a photograph of four children standing on stone stairs in two rows of two. The photograph is partially tinted by a gradient of colors that resemble the last moment of a sunset — with the orange glow of the sun on the horizon and the vast majority of the sky a dark blue. The top layer is white text of poetic words scattered amongst illustrations of stars and constellations.]
Artwork by Monica Ong Artwork by Monica Ong


“Solstice Blessing”

may tonight be a solstice
for newborn days,
each one lengthening its arms
to carry you all the way

mother’s milk
flows over twenty-six
straight into
this cusp

two thousand
of crossings
just to

to flutter in the
places that