Shin Yu Pai

Shin Yu Pai is a poet and essayist. Shin Yu Pai is currently Civic Poet of Seattle (2023-2024). She is the author of 13 books, including most recently No Neutral (Empty Bowl, 2023), as well as AUX ARCS (La Alameda), Adamantine (White Pine), Sightings (1913 Press), and Equivalence (La Alameda). She is creator and host of the chart-topping, award-winning podcast “Ten Thousand Things” for KUOW, Seattle’s NPR station. She studied creative writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her personal essays have appeared in Tricycle, YES! Magazine, and City Arts. In 2015, she was a Jack Straw artist in residence for her public poetry project HEIRLOOM, which was installed in Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park. Shin Yu has received grants from the Awesome Foundation, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture for her work. She lives in Bitter Lake, Seattle, with her husband and son.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

In a collection that is deeply occupied with the notion of voice and who gets to have it, Shin Yu Pai’s No Neutral reaches toward a more authentic and natural voice to represent the poet’s perspective in all its range and concerns.

Monuments for Men (Memory’s Vault), Fort Worden

I can’t deny that beauty is
here, when bullied by design

to turn my back to the bay
and enthrone myself beneath

the shelter, to face a single pale
stone, enshrined within a slab

mausoleum – the permanence
of rock is as persistent as the force

of men, it’s evident in the words
etched onto stone steles, hostile

architectures crafted by those
who saw themselves like gods

who coerced the eyes upward
to poles planted at the site,

that old trope of the man, &
his lover the sea, patiently waiting

for his return, I think why
not turn the gaze back on her

right now – the sea – we have
already seen all there is to see

2016 Writers Program

Artist Support Program 2015: Heirloom, a site-specific installation in Piper’s Orchard that includes an audio recording of a poem mixed with field recordings of the Orchard.


Sound Clips
  • Firstborn – Shin Yu Pai
  • Shin Yu Pai - Heirloom
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Jack Straw Artists at Westcrest Park this weekend!

September 3, 2021

Created Commons at Westcrest Park Jack Straw Artist Performances: September 4-5, 4-8pm Westcrest Park, Seattle FREE (Donations requested for Real Rent Duwamish) As part of the City of Seattle’s Created Commons initiative, Jack Straw’s partner Lelavision has invited us to collaborate on a neighborhood celebration featuring BIPOC-centered performances, wellness offerings, and science panels utilizing their […]

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Created Commons Westcrest Park flyer

Categories: Artist Support Program, Writers Program

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