Team Meeting

Eat Bitterness (Chīkŭ)

Sophie Zhu

Artist’s Statement: Eat Bitterness (Chīkŭ) is an artist’s book about Asian experiences in America. Its exigency comes from the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, and the fact that a majority of the crimes go unreported. One factor that has led to this is the idea of swallowing your suffering, your anger, and your annoyances. In Chinese, this is known as chīkŭ, which literally means “to eat bitterness” and it manifests especially in the lives of first generation Asian immigrants. 


This artist’s book is a dim sum steamer with origami dumplings. Each dumpling has a poem inside, which reflects the author's experiences as an Asian American in modern day.

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I Hate


The South        

The way it makes me feel

The way I ball my fists

That I am angry

That this hatred is pitch pale

That it falls with a tap

That it is thinner than capillaries.

That it melts into fear. 

That at the end

I am scared

I am a small, scared little girl

Crying in the corner

1

Little Squares


It makes me sick, 

Like my stomach has constricted

To the width of a bone

Then slowly drilled halfway through

And broken in half

To see all those little squares

Of faces that are dead

2

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Fury


I want to tear them apart,

The person behind the

Boxcutters

Acid

Gun

The attackers on the

Street

Playground

Nail salon

With my bare hands

I want to rip them apart

3

About Sophie Zhu

Now a student at Duke University, she has been involved in art for a long time. Since she was a child, Sophie Zhu has been writing novels, to short stories, and poetry, and has even published some of her works. She is the winner of the 2019 California Coastal Poetry Award and the Runner-up of the Writer-the-World Fantasy Writing Competition. Her poems were published by Poetry Space's highly selective 2019 Quarterly Showcases twice. She is looking to chase a career of creative writing in the future.