We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Trees Witness Everything

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472157454

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 5th May 2022

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Poetry

Select a format:


Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.


‘Impeccable, precise poems, sometimes shocking and strange, but always startling’ Irish Times

A lover of strict form, best-selling poet Victoria Chang turns to compact Japanese waka, powerfully innovating on tradition while continuing her pursuit of one of life’s hardest questions: how to let go.

In The Trees Witness Everything, Victoria Chang reinvigorates language by way of concentration, using constraint to illuminate and free the wild interior. Largely composed in various Japanese syllabic forms called ‘wakas,’ each poem is shaped by pattern and count. This highly original work innovates inside the lineage of great poets including W.S. Merwin, whose poem titles are repurposed as frames and mirrors for the text, stitching past and present in complex dialogue. Chang depicts the smooth, melancholic isolation of the mind while reaching outward to name – with reverence, economy and whimsy – the ache of wanting, the hawk and its shadow, our human urge to hide the minute beneath the light.

What's Inside

Read More Read Less


In this collection, the constraints of the waka, a Japanese syllabic form, yield highly compressed, surreal meditations on time, desire, and the movements of the mind itself. Chang's poems . . . document a practice of sustained observation and imagination.
New Yorker 'BEST BOOKS OF 2022'
Sad, elegiac and intensely vivid
Rishi Dastidar, Big Issue
In this brilliant new collection, Chang continues her exploration of memory and mourning. These are impeccable, precise poems, sometimes shocking and strange, but always startling in their ability to excise an utterance from the depths of grief and longing that is both painful and reverent . . . Chang's crystalline, controlled poems seem etched from deep experience, and move hauntingly between the living and the dead . . . their economy lends them both a sharp detail and a hallucinatory potential, traversing a staggering progress of thought and image across a small number of lines
Sean Hewitt, Irish Times
Some of the most dazzling evocations of the natural world I've encountered
Guardian, Best Poetry Books of the Year 2022
Elegant and reflective . . . For those who are grieving and those who have grieved, Chang offers beautiful insights, and a path toward healing
Publisher's Weekly