Nellie Wong is a poet and activist for feminist and socialist causes based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is co-featured
in the documentary film,
Mitsuye and Nellie, Asian American Poets (1982) and was featured in the film
Just Say It: A Revolution in the Making (2004). Wong's awards include Woman of Words from the San Francisco Women's Foundation and her poem, "Sailing with Memories
of Li Hong," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005. Two of her poems are permanently engraved in San Francisco Muni public
sites at Market and Sanchez Streets and at the Embarcadero. She has performed her work throughout the United States, and in
Cuba and China.
A Chinese-American poet and union activist, Nellie Wong was born and raised in the Oakland Chinatown of the 1940's. After
the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans to relocation camps during World War II, Wong worked in her family's
great China Restaurant in Oakland's Chinatown. Later, she traveled across the Bay to pursue studies in creative writing at
San Francisco State University. Meanwhile, Wong worked at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation as a secretary from 1964-82. Wong
began writing poetry in the early 1970's. Wong is one of the founding members of Unbound Feet, a writing collective of Chinese-American
women who read together and lectured at universities throughout California, in the late 1970's. Wong's poems deal with themes
involving Asian Americans, especially the sense of leaving "home" behind. "I care about the roots of Asian-American culture
and how and why they came here," says Wong, referring to the long history of Asians' immigration to America. "It's something
every Asian family has experienced."
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