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“In Mother Tongue, Chaelee Dalton trains their exacting eye and lyricism to capture the multiple sites of disruption and rupture that exist when one is born in one country and then adopted into another. In Dalton's case, those countries are South Korea and the United States, and they move deftly through the permeable boundaries of geography, culture, and (double) daughterhood, capturing the nuances of how a body is both at home and not at home… This is no mere book of recipes, no collection of poems that I have ever encountered before: what Dalton captures are the tense and inexplicable ways in which we are entangled by genetic, socio-cultural, and familial ties. What they offer is a reckoning, an indelible one.”

- Diana Khoi Nguyen



Chae(lee) Dalton is a wintertime poet and summertime ice cream maker. They are the author of the chapbook Mother Tongue (Gold Line Press 2021) and their work appears in The Offing, Pinwheel, Penn Review, and elsewhere. A queer Korean adoptee, Dalton currently live in New York, where they teach kids science and make things with their friends.

As an educator, Chaelee works with youth of all ages at the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Informed by their background in both physics and educational equity research and organizing, Chaelee creates and teaches STEM curricula that centers the histories and experiences of Black and brown scientists. 

Drawing by Ahana Ganguly
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