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Dear Lettera 32 by Cat Chong

128pp Paperback

Published on 16/02/2024

ISBN 9781446168127

Available to purchase online here

Dear Lettera 32 is a text that revels in contradictions, and in doing so gives the lie to our comfortable assumptions about the act of writing in and of itself.

Refusing to capitulate to the reassurances of singular address, Cat Chong draws from the world around them to create a kaleidoscope of hope and longing, divinity and corruption, esoterica and hypermodernity.


Confessional, lyrical, yet densely packed with theory, Chong uses an encounter with a typewriter as the inspiration for a migration across the possibilities of poetry.


The resulting work is a deeply readable yet visually jarring text that evades easy categorisation. Is this an epistolary novel? A diary? A poem? Chong inhabits multiple spaces while rejecting the easy categorisation that any of them might offer, instead opening up their work to the creative possibility of discomfort.

Cat Chong is a poet, whose work considers the intersections between genre, genderqueerness, disability, and chronic illness.


Their debut collection 712 stanza homes for the sun was published in 2023 by Broken Sleep Books, and is available to purchase from their website.

Cat is currently the digital editor at Osmosis Press, where they publish poetry by a wide variety of writers interested in pushing boundaries and crossing borders.

They’re a graduate of the Poetic Practice MA at Royal Holloway, a PhD student at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and visiting PhD fellow at the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University.

Cat can be found on instagram and twitter @marbledmayhem.


As a child, I asked for a typewriter for my 10th birthday. I would slowly take the hard case off of the old Underwood everyday in an act of ceremony. It became a sacred technology, something that held while transmuting thoughts otherwise beyond my capacity to articulate. An oracle. A talisman. It is where lyric found me. Cat Chong’s Dear Lettera 32 has this same divining quality. It sucks me in, and I feel transported by the textural language in its disrupting yet comforting familiarity. It is ever-changing, mobile. It asks me to be languidly alert, brilliantly read through the body in all its limits and possibilities “with magic and the poem” pressed up against it, “cast in subdermal frequencies”. It makes me want to learn to write again, to be “witness to vulnerability with every mark.”


Cassandra Troyan

In their conversation with JD Howse, Cat Chong asks if Dear Lettera 32 reads like a retaliation. But here, left to their own device - the typewriter - the poet writes themselves through, into, and out of microagressions, crip theory, citation, and embodiment, in a crushing juxtaposition of density and blankness. And in this breath-denial and linelessness, the text asks how it could become a form of accountability; how do we hold people to account? How do we give an account of ourselves? Throughout the compressed orientations of the prose poems, dreams recur as relationality, violence, a kind of consciousness, and a possible alternate space of escape. In this multiplicity, turning away and back towards the realness of poetry, Chong writes a will to go on, go on, go on; to hope.

Prudence Bussey-Chamberlaine

In beginning Cat Chong’s Dear Lettera 32 the reader must straight away bend under the weight of the typewriter, learning the bunch and give of each page as crowded text gives way to blank space. This book is mired in isolation, reaching out in its intertextuality to avoid any individual voice to dominate, always in conversation and perhaps most of all when lonely. Chong begins one letter ‘I am accumulating. text’: text which reads both as curse and blessing, trauma and hex, envying the ‘ability to say nothing’. The speaker accuses and pleads with their subject/s, unspooling and unsure of the poem’s own nature, claiming ‘no desire to resemble’, nonetheless – or perhaps accordingly – capable of illuminating and spitting on the hostile power structures bearing down here and everywhere. This is vital work.

Kat Sinclair

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