Tammy Ho on Contemporary Faces of the River Merchant’s Wife

Writing at World Literature Today, Tammy Ho Lai-ming 何麗明 talks about the “Contemporary Faces” of “The Merchant River’s Wife: A Letter,” Ezra Pound’s translation of Changgan Xing 長干行 by Tang poet Li Bai 李白 (whom he called Rihaku) in Cathay (1915). Specifically, she focuses on contemporary extensions, responses, and rewritings: Luca L.’s “Letter to Ru Yi, the River-Merchant’s Wife”; “The Expat’s Partner: An Email,” by Alistair Noon; and “Ghost Husband,” by Renée M. Schell. Here’s how she ends her piece:

In his introduction to Derrida’s ideas of deconstruction and photography, the painter Gerhard Richter suggests that translation means that “something is presented, interpreted, explained, and even understood in terms of something else.” Seen in this way, the three contemporary poems discussed can be called transgender, transtemporal, and transcultural translations of Li Bai’s poem, read through the prism of Pound’s rendering.

Click on the image for the full article.

Dispatches from Hongkong in the AALR

AALR_v5i2-FallWinter2014-COVER-front+spineThe current Asian American Literary Review includes a feature titled Dispatches from Hong Kong, featuring entries on the Occupy Central Umbrella Uprising protests by Nicholas Wong, Collier Nogues, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, and Henry W. Leung & Adriel Luis, as well as a piece by me. Here’s a taste of mine:

Two days after attending the Occupy Central demonstrations in Hong Kong I was in a crowd in Tiananmen Square … I took my son to Tiananmen Square with my wife and parents-in-law on National Day, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Thinking back to the much more densely packed Admiralty district from only days prior, I thought of Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power. In Tiananmen I stood in a crowd whose interest in celebrating something—anything—the continuation of their country, the blue skies, the military flag-lowering, the stories-tall arrangement of silk flowers—motivated a forgetting—inequality, pollution, the systematic dismantling of all but the structure of power the revolution whose victory they were celebrating had fought for, the fact that Tiananmen was both the site of the declaration of the People’s Republic of China sixty-five years ago and of the military murder of political protestors twenty-five years ago. In Occupy Central, I had stood as part of a more empowering crowd—larger and denser, colored by more black and less red—motivated by equality and respect and an inability and unwillingness to forget. The memory and motivation of the Hong Kong crowd gave a palpable discomfort in Tiananmen’s ethereal and disconnected mass.

Click the image above for the full feature.

The Umbrellas and the Tear Gas

CURAmag has posted “The Umbrellas and the Tear Gas,” a feature of poems from the Occupy Central movement, now cleared, put together and introduced by Louise Law, with Henry Wei Leung. The poems are by Chung Kwok Keung, translated by Tammy Ho, and Chan Lai Kuen, translated by Amy K. Bell. “The two poems selected here are a reminder of the first days,” Law and Leung write. “They are also an artifact, a document of local voices speaking for themselves in the face of being revised by an official history.”

Metaphor is on strike
and there’s pepper spray to eat,
…hard to say how many peppers were used.
Tear gas tastes just like tear gas.

Click on the image for the poems.

AAWW’s Four Poems for the Umbrella Movement

Photo by David HillThe Asian American Writers’ Workshop has published four poems on the Occupy Central Umbrella Movement by Hongkong poets Tang Siu Wa, Chung Kwok Keung, Dorothy Tse, and Liu Waitong, as translated by Nicolette Wong, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, and Amy K. Bell. Edited by Louise Law and introduced by Henry Wei Leung, here’s an excerpt (from Chung Kwok Keung, translated by Ho):

Let’s put silence to a coma in the dark of night
Let’s allow our voice, clear and loud, to be heard at dawn
Occupy, so that it can be put back in place
Sit down, and then stand up, one by one
When our names are called,
Each and every one of us, say: Here.

Click on the image for the full feature.

Fourth Anniversary Issue of Cha

The fourth anniversary issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is now live. In addition to the quality poetry, fiction, & non-fiction, this issue also features new sections such as a Supplement on publishing in Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Macau. The book review section is also worth noting, especially for its take on Amblings, the new selected poems of Leung Ping-Kwan 梁秉鈞.

I’ll be guest-editing Cha‘s “Ancient Asia Issue,” scheduled to launch August 2013. See also their earlier publication of my translation of five sections from Xi Chuan’s “Thirty Historical Reflections” 鉴史三十章 from their China Issue.