octopus books

Picasso’s Tears

Wong May

100 available
isbn: 9780985118273
323 pages

Wong May

Wong May was born in 1944 in Chungking, China. She was brought up in Singapore by her mother Wang Mei Chuang, a classical Chinese poet, who taught school & wrote short stories. After graduating from the University of Singapore, she joined The Writers Workshop, at University of Iowa in 1966. Harcourt Brace & World brought out her first book of poetry in 1969, followed by two other books in 1972 & 1978. In 1972 she was a visiting writer at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. She is married to an Irish physicist & has lived mainly in France & Ireland. They have two sons. Dublin has been her home since 1978.

praise for Picasso’s Tears

Written over the past 35 years, Picasso’s Tears is an epic account of Wong May’s incisive, empathic, and visionary engagement with our strange and violent world. Politically inflamed and intensely personal, this fourth book of poems by Wong May marks the long-awaited re-emergence of a major, miraculous voice.

… a strangely perceptive woman, in all senses.

—Robert Creeley

… unaffectedly well-informed, capacious, and unpredictable in her concerns and procedures.

—C.D. Wright

Picasso’s Tears includes an Afterword by the author.

excerpt from Picasso’s Tears


Given 2 persons

Alone together

In a room

Chances are

One of them would





There’s room.


I was 6

When I invented torture.


With a stranger.

I wanted to know


My mother


& the person won’t tell me.

& didn’t I

Make her.

I made her




Glass after




It was

Torture. Sheer

Torture. All night,

She let on that

She didn’t know

& she let me.

&  already

All-ready I had some idea

Of drowning: the drowner

& the drownee

: water filling up

From within,

Though outwardly

Nothing’s changed.

& drunk

I was, taking

& taking it

straight to &

From the source,

Pure & simple.

–Purer than pure

That simple.

I will make her talk.

She drinks

O I was six foot tall

& will live to 104

She drinks

& I was drunk.

Alone together forever

In a room

In a room

Hung close to tears

To & fro

Head banging

Banging heads


There’s room.


Neither of us would beg

To stop.