Josey Foo is a native of Malaysia, peranakan on her father’s side and Chinese on her mother’s, who immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s. Her first collection of writings and art, including a fully realized children’s picture story about an intrepid traveling three-legged beagle, Endou, was published by Lost Roads in 1995; portions were included in The Best American Essays 1995. Tomie’s Chair, a second mixed genre book of poetry, prose and art written in response to an art installation on immigration on the Lower East Side, was published by Kaya in 2002. Her most recent book, A Lily Lilies, (Nightboat Books) is a poetic collaboration with dancer Leah Stein and contains poetry for movement, dance directions, and art by both authors. Foo has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Council on the Arts, and was the recipient of an Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award from Negative Capability journal in 1993. A two-time Yale Series of Younger Poets finalist, Foo and her husband Richard Ferguson live in a 1911 apple orchard farm house in northwestern New Mexico that they have patiently renovated over the years, creating eclectic and colorful eco-friendly spaces.
Foo graduated from Vassar College, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2006, she has worked in the Office of the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation. She feels incredibly lucky to have been able to live, work with and receive profound lessons about respect for our world from the people of the Navajo Nation.
“Like Endou, Josey Foo’s first book, Tomie’s Chair is an indefinable work. More choreography than inscription as though air were the page on which it were written. As though composed out of doors. The chair is the most specific object in the field; it centers the field, but the chair is light and the center moves. The speaker a mere inference: ‘That there are a thousand stories to affirm the negative of me and perhaps only one story to reverse it.’ A new work by Josey Foo maintains a beautiful fidelity to the space between objects, beings, words and honors its own immanence with her deft, invisible brush.”
— C.D. Wright