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Main Title:
Diana Chang Collection

Type of Material: Manuscripts, published writings, correspondence, files, and photographs
Personal Name: Chang, Diana (1924-2009)
Collection ID: Collection 410
Creator: Diana Chang
Extent: 4.6 linear ft.
Span Dates: 1950s-2000s


Diana Chang Collection
Collection 410

Diana Chang

The collection was donated by Diana Chang in 2008.

Biographical Sketch

"I have said elsewhere that I feel I’m an American writer whose background is mostly Chinese (my mother was Eurasian). My novels and short stories seem to be preoccupied with being and identity, and arise out of my abiding passion for exploring character and emotion to create the psychological realities of particular situations. In some of my poems a self speaks to the self. Or I write of poetry itself or of painting, as I’m also a painter. Often I explore the natural world and its soul, as it were. In style, I hope to be imagistic, moving instinctively among metaphor, simile, and personification, in order to make my ideas concrete and tangible.” – Diana Chang

Diana Chang (1924-2009) was a Chinese American novelist, poet, educator, and artist. Her first novel, The Frontiers of Love, originally published by Random House in 1956, was the first novel to have been written by an American born, Chinese American, in the United States.

Born to an American mother of Chinese and Irish descent and a Chinese father, she spent the early part of her life in Beijing and Shanghai. She said of her background:

"My father was real Chinese, born and raised in China. He had a classical Chinese education, and then attended and graduated from Tsinghua University in Peking (as Beijing was called then). An architect, he earned his degree in architecture at Columbia University. My mother, on the other hand, was Eurasian, born and raised in the United States.

These permutations make me lop-sided—more than first generation, less than second. Or, because my father became an American citizen in his fifties, I am more than second generation, less than third. You might say I’m more confusing in my background than stereotypical. My first novel, The Frontiers of Love, and my fourth, The Only Game in Town, draw on my Chineseness as their source-as do several poems and short stories. But in my other work, I’ve assumed different personas. For instance, Eye to Eye, my fifth novel, is written from a man’s point of view in the first person, and he is a white Protestant.

I’m part of a minority group, but my imagination doesn’t seem to realize it. My imagination wants to subsume itself with empathy in other people for the sake of the novel I’m inventing. After all, one doesn’t have to be German to sing Lieder."

Diana Chang attended high school in the U.S. and Barnard College, graduating cum laude in 1949 with a B.A. in creative writing. While an undergraduate, Poetry Magazine published three of her poems, including "At the Window." After graduation, she worked on her first novel, The Frontiers of Love (reissued by the University of Washington Press in 1994), and also worked as a junior editor at three book publishing houses (A. A. Wyn, Bobbs-Merill, Avon Books).

For over six years, she edited The American Pen, the quarterly of the American Center of P.E.N., the international writers' organization with 100 centers around the world.

She returned to Barnard College in 1979 as an Adjunct Associate Professor of English and of the Arts, teaching creative writing for ten years in the English Department, and for five years, "Imagery and Form in the Arts," in the Program of the Arts.

Diana Chang's poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, and been collected in chapbooks, including The Horizon Is Definitely Speaking, What Matisse Is After, and Earth Water Light.

She was a recipient of a John Hay Whitney Opportunity Fellowship, which made it possible for her to start writing The Frontiers of Love. Her other awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, Mademoiselle Magazine Woman-of-the-Year Award, and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

An accomplished painter, her work was exhibited in solo and group shows, and are represented in the collections of James Brooks, Alfonso Ossorio, Werner H. Kramarsky, Lillian Braude, and Helena Fraser. According to one autobiographical sketch, "Ocean and sky, fields and strands engage her in a continuing romance with seasons and timelessness in the Hamptons where she lives in Water Mill. She is also an artist who in recent years has concentrated on using watercolors to paint semi-abstract landscapes."

Diana Chang lived in Water Mill, NY with her husband David Herrmann, and later in Pennsylvania. She died on February 19, 2009.


The Frontiers of Love, 1956, Random House; reissued by the University of Washington
Press, 1994.

A Woman of Thirty, 1959, Random House.

A Passion for Life, 1961, Random House.

The Only Game in Town, 1963, New American Library.

Eye to Eye, 1974, Harper & Row.

A Perfect Love, 1978, Jove Books of HBJ (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich).

The Horizon is Definitely Speaking (poetry), 1982, Street Press.

What Matisse is After, (poetry) 1984, Contact 11.

Earth Water Light, (poetry) 1991, Birnham Wood.

Extent, Scope, and Content Note
The collection includes 4.6 linear ft. of manuscripts and published poems authored by Diana Chang, incoming and outgoing professional and personal correspondence, subject files, clippings, and photographs dating from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Arrangement and Processing Note
The collection is comprised of nine boxes, arranged in four series: 

Series 1: Writings (boxes 1-5)
Series 2: Correspondence (boxes 6-7)
Series 3: Subject Files (box 8)
Series 4: Scrapbook and Photographs (box 9)

Processing was completed in July 2015 by Kristen J. Nyitray with assistance from Lynn Toscano and graduate assistant Dasha Nenartovich.


The collection is open to researchers without restriction.

Stony Brook University Libraries' consent as the physical owner of the collection does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. It is the sole responsibility of the user of Special Collections and University Archives materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to publication.    

[Item], Diana Chang Collection, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries.



Box 1

Poems, A to K

A Bird Addresses a Girl

A Bird Streaks Backward to a Tree

A Bird’s Calling

A Body Unhinged

A Bright Dark

A Change in the Weather

A Cloud Could Come

A Dead Heart

A Dialogue with My Own Temperament

A Double Pursuit

A Dwelling

A for Effort

A Gift

A Girl Causes an Organ to Sing on Park Avenue

A Gleaning

A Gravity

A Harvest

A Line in the Sand

A Mecca of Waters

A Mingling

A Misfit

A Modest Wish

A Mouse in the Birdfeeder

A Page of Day

A Peregrination

A Perspective

A Persuasion

A Poet

A Purse Snatching

A Quality of Being

A Questioning

A Real Place in Thin Air

A Reflection

A Relationship

A Sapphic Point of View

A Secular Piety

A Shadow Lay There

A Shedding

A Shrine of Dahlias

A Siamese Twin’s Complaint

A Song’s Words

A Sort of Polaroid

A Stalker

A Sunday Feeling

A Theft

A Theory about Dancing

A Trance

A Valentine

A Vision

A Young’s Girl Geography

Walls: The Artist as Philosopher/Poet

A Wall of Their Own

A Way of Moving, Though Staying

A Way of the Withdrawn

A Webbing

A Young Woman by Herself

Above All, Sky

Abstract Kingdom: Picture Gallery


After Procrustes

Again, An Afternoon

Ah Yes Wisdom/Lines

All Day

All Over


Along Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton, N.Y.


A. M.

Amazing Occasion

Among Things in Another Country

An Alphabet

An Appearance of Being Chinese

An Appreciation

An Aside Addressed to a Spirit Close By

An Echoing

An Encounter

An Equation?

An Inquiry

An Insomnia

An Invocation

An Invocation

An Objective Case or To Whom It May Concern

An Old-Fashioned Egoist

An Old Refrain

Ancient Faces at the Met

Andy Warhol’s Nudes

Annual Checkup

Apples, Stars

Apropos of My Selves


Arboreal Lessons

Art at Large

Artists East and West

As Clocks Hold and Unravel

As for Shadows

As Green Comes

As If in a Mirror Somewhere

As It Is Now

As Mercury in an Open Palm

As Sky Comes Undone

As the Shade

Asian-American Heritage

At a Matisse Retrospective

At Cameron Beach

At Large

At Last, These Lines

At the Beach

At the Club

At the Dia Center for the Arts, Bridgehampton, N.Y.

At the Edge

At the Edge Where We Find Ourselves

At the Imperial China Show of The Palace Museum of Taipei

At the Pond

At the Window




Because I’m A Painter

Because of Her Lovely Tail We Called Her Mermaid

Before Dawn

Beggars in China

Benign Weather

Beyond the Clock

Bird, Woman And Leaves

Body of Water

Bonding with Galway at the Macdowell Colony

Boy in Dry Land

Call it the Owl


Canoe-ing on an Apparition

Carnal Knowledge At Eleven

Cat Sees Bird/Cat Knows Girl

Cities of Objects

Close By


Come to Light

Coming Across a Small One on the Road

Consumer Report

Counting Neighbors

Crowd Scene


Cy Twombly Minds His Own Thinking

Day is Mortal

Daylight Saving Time, May 20

Deer Crossing

Devotions of the Real

Drawing with Color

Driving in Vermont

Driving with Summer



Dusk Full of Lights


En Plein Air

Encountering Alfredo Castaneda’s Faces

Encountering Garbo

“Energy is Eternal Delight”




Everywhere is Here

Everywhere Now

Existence Has No Idea

Expecting Nothing

Eye to Eye

Familiar Light

Familiar Reckoning

Far and Near



Fault Lines




Five A.M.


Flowering Clock

Flying High

Foreign Ways


Forsaking Strangers

Forty Winks

Four O’Clock Evening

Four Views in Praise of Reality

Friday Night

From a Second Story

From the Grave


Galloping Days


Geography We Live In

Glad Rags


Going By, Driving

Gray on Gray

Growing Pains



He Believes What He Knows

Hearing the Music


Holding on to Noon

Holding on to Suzanne Farrell



Hope is a Poem


Houses Remember Me

Hovering in Stillness

How I Wish You’d Live In


“I Am Always Burning”

I Am We

I Feel Vanished Sometimes

I Once Knew

I was Looking


I’m Used to a White Flower Appearing


Impossible Suicide

In a Wake of Air

In Character

In Due Time

In His Sight

In Perpetuity

In Praise of Gray

In Praise of Peach Trees

In Praise of The Unfinished Again

In Real Time

In the City

In the Dark

In the Midst of Magic

In the Pool

In the Yucatan

In Thin Air

In Things

In This Light

In Two

Inhaling Love


Into Another Blue

January Interiors

Kathleen’s Foot

Keeping The Mystery

Keeping Time

Knowing What Desires We Have Had


Box 2

Poems, L to The

Late Zone

Letter to Asia

Lift off

Like a Little Air

Like a Lovesickness, Abroad

Like a Poet

Like Wind

Lines for an Anniversary

Lines to my Father


Listening for a Poem

Live-In Legacy

Living In

Lost Within Love

Love’s Breakfast

Lying in Wait

Macbeth in the City


Making Friends

Making Room

Marriage as Religious Training or In Holy Wedlock


Memory is What I Am

Message from Molecules


Monday Still




Moonstruck/Memory is What I Am/Fireflies

Moon Watch



Most Satisfied by Snow

My Inner Life

My True Place, After All

9.3 Million Miles Near


New Light Is Shed On Moon’s Brightness

New Year’s Eve

New York City

Next World

Night-Blooming Cereus

Night Hangs on Its Loom



None of Them Aging

Not Against Writing, Really

Not the Blinding Sun

Nothing to Me

November Flurry

Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, In November

Of the Cold

Of Things Seen

Old Math

On a Clock Moving

On a Poet Reading His Own Work

On Angel Island, Walls Were for Writing Chinese Poems On

On Being in the Midwest

On Gibson Lane, Sagaponack

On Hold

On Moving Away

On Reading about a Friend Who Died the Day Before

On Seeing My Great-Aunt in a Funeral Parlor

On Switching on a Jacuzzi for the First Time

On Tap

On the Connecticut River In October

On the Fly

On the Way

Once and Future

One Might

Only Human

Open House


Other Ways


Out of Harm’s Way

Out There

Over Ithaca, N.Y.


Paint in Mid-Air

Paper Work

Passing Thought


Pen and Brush

Penny Dreadfuls

Perchance to Dream

Phantom Calendar


Picture Gallery


Plunging into View

Poem (he was about…)

Poem (on the shore…)

Poor Hackneyed Moon

Poughkeepsie Repeats Itself

Present Tense

Prime Real Estate

Provincetown Revisited

Rain Opens Its Screens

Real Time

Reason for Words

Recurring Topic

Reeling It In




Ripe Lanes and Larders

Samuel, William, Robert and Ezra Have Their Say

Saying Yes

Scene with Nudes

Season’s Greetings

Second Nature

Seeing Her Again

Seen at the Pool

Seegrotte, Outside Vienna

Self-Portrait with John Ashbery


Sex, Lies and Grammar



Should God Care?

Side Show


Sitting Toward Montreal


Sleight of Hand

Soldiers of Any God


Some Don’t Mind Not Being Known

Some Say Madness Bends to Time

Something Silver

Something White

Speaking For Ourselves

Speaking of Love


Spilling Away

Stepping Out

Still Life


Stone Poet



Sudden Snow

Summer and All That Shows


Swarming Galleries


Taking Inventory

Taking the Light

That Other

The Ache

The Anatomy of Sometime

The Appetite

The Assurance

The Audience

The Brew of Age

The Cat Named Love

The Chance

The City From Which He Sees Himself

The Coast

The Concert

The Continent of Monhegan Island

The Contract

The Crescent

The Dark Seems to be All Eyes

The Defense

The Divorced

The Double

The Dress

The Early Moon

The Earth Turns a Thousand Miles Hour

The Estranging

The Face of Time

The Figure in the Mind

The First Line

The Flowing

The Garden

The Grail

The Grail

The Green Fuse

The Green in Cities of the World

The Gulf

The Healing

The Hiatus

The Horizon Is Definitely Speaking

The Kiss

The Little It Takes

The Ocean At Quogue

The Personality of Chairs

The Piano Insists

The Pulse

The Recognition

The Ride

The Sea Outside

The Shadow Knows

The Sky Helps Me

The Speed of Light

The Spell

The Sphinx

The Still Center

The Thread

The Time Being January 1991

The Trip

The True You

The Twelve-Year-Olds

The Verge

The View Tells Us

The Visitor

The Wait

The Worm

The Writing in the Wind

Then And Now

There And Here


Box 3

Poems, Thi to Y

Things are for Good

Things as They Seemed

Things Being … Things Being What They Are

Things Longing in the Dark

Thinking Along Our Lines

This Being a View

This Music … Like Weather

Three Views in Praise of Reality

Through a Narrow Window

Through Dissolving Mirrors

Through the Eye


Time Stands Still Near The Ponte Vecchio

Time Travel

Time’s Geography

‘Tis Sweet Love

To Be Seers

Tourist Love

Toward Galaxies


Transparent Hour

Travelling Light

Tree Woman

Tribal Ways

Trying to Stay

Two Painters Don’t Speak of Beauty

Two Places of the Mind

Two Vistas of Palm Beach

Under Popocatepetl

Under the Moon and Moving

Unfinished Business

Upon a Married Man


Van Gogh’s Ear Reminds Her

Visible Night


Vistas of Palm Beach

Wainscott on its Way

Waiting to be Born

Watching the Wind

Weather Within

What a Widow Knows

What Happens has a Way of Happening, or Not

What is It

What Matisse is After

What Ought Not To Be

What’s in a Name

When Now is Always

When the Willow

Where We Are Now

White Ceremony

White on White

White Zone

Wildness Out There


Wind of Something

Winning Ways

Winter Light

Within and Without

Within the Real

Without Giving Notice

Woman with Rose


Writing this Poem

Yaddo/The Gulf

Yes, You

manuscript: “Small Talk Against Dying or Pain of Life: 70 Poems in the Vernacular about Death and Other Relationships”


Box 4

Short Stories

short stories, A

A Gallant Man

A Heretic of Twenty-One-Eighty-Four

A Hospital Fable

A New Man

A Place Of His Own

A Reason For Flowers

A Road Not Taken

A Two-Headed Creature

A Twosome

An Upright Man

After Procrustes – poem?


short stories, B-C

Beyond Men

Carried Away


Close To Home

Commonplace, Extraordinary Sleep

Crossing the Border


short stories, F-H

Falling Free

Family Night At The Concert

Fighting the Cold

Getting Around


He Flew

How Much Is Somewhat?


short stories, I-L

I Was That Child

In The Purple Shade

Jane And Company

Jose And The Lady
Literary Sleight of Hand

Long Distance Call


short stories, M-N



Not Against Writing, Really


short stories, O-P

Once Upon A Time

Onto Something

Out Of Thin Air


Penny Dreadfuls

Present Self


short stories, S

Seeing Things

Shy Eyes


Still Points


short stories, T (1 of 3)

The Appearance… of an uninvited presence

The Couple

The Face On The Screen

The Ghost’s Story

The Hat

The Nap

The Oriental Contingent


short stories, T (2 of 3)
The Other Shoe She Wouldn’t Drop

The Pang

The Patient

The Second Time I Live

The Story That Swallowed Itself

The Sweater


short stories, T (3 of 3)

The Sweetness Of Things

The Thronging

The True You

The View Before Her

The Wakefulness Of Hypnosis

Their Dad



True Love


short stories: U-W                       

Unlike Sylvia

Unfinished Business



Waiting For Violet

Walking Away

Wave of Being, Ports of Air

What She Knew

What’s The Story, Luv?


Wide Awake

Woolgathering, Ventriloquism and The Double Life


short stories: “Sudden Fictions”

short stories:  fragments and unidentified

short stories: Diana Chang’s list


Box 5

teaching notes and materials
journal entries
fragments and notes (4f)



Box 6

correspondence: Appleman, Marjorie

correspondence: Chin, Frank

correspondence: Grice, Helena

correspondence: Huang, David Henry

correspondence: Lim, Shirley

correspondence: Ling, Amy

correspondence: publishers and editors

correspondence: Ryan, Pat

correspondence: Sager, Ann

correspondence: Wu, Kitty

correspondence: 1950s to 1960s

correspondence: 1970s

Box 7

correspondence: 1980s

correspondence: 1990s (3f)

correspondence: 2000s (3f)



Box 8

autobiographical and biographical (3f)
Chinese language
ethnicity (news clippings)
favorite poems
Frontiers of Love
other poets
publicity and flyers
reviews (2f)



Box 9

scrapbook (contents removed from book for preservation)


Box 10

oversized photographs

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