Photos of Yin Lichuan by Martin de Haan, of Felix Cheung by David Liew, and of Han Dong, Sun Wenbo, Ouyang Jianghe, Wang Xiaoni, and Wang Jiaxin by Maghiel van Crevel
Spring/Summer 2006 Chinese Feature
Editor of this feature: Inara Cedrins is an American artist, writer and translator of Latvian descent. In 1998 she went to the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing to learn to paint in Chinese ink on silk, and remained in China for five years, teaching writing and literature at universities including Peking University and Tsinghua University. Two books of her poetry were published bilingually in English and Chinese by the Foreign Literature Press in Beijing. In 2003 she went to Nepal to study the thangka painting technique; after the king's coup and abolishment of democracy in 2005, she repatriated to Latvia. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Latvia, and is working on a Baltic anthology of poetry as well as this anthology of contemporary Chinese poets.
Introduction to this feature: Michael Martin Day was born and educated in Vancouver, Canada. He received his BA in Asian Studies and the Chinese Language from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1985 and his MA in Modern Chinese Literature from the same university in 1994. Between the years 1982 and 1992, he spent seven years in China, first as a cultural exchange scholarship student at the universities of Shandong and Nanjing, then as a teacher of English language and literature in Zhanjiang and Xi'an, and later as a journalist and editor in Beijing and Hongkong. He began teaching the Chinese language as an assistant lecturer at UBC in 1986, and later served in the same position for courses in Modern Chinese Literature in Chinese and a General Introduction to East Asian History and Culture. In 1995 and 1996, he was lecturer in charge of the Chinese Language Summer Program at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Since 2000, he has worked at Charles University, Prague, as a part-time lecturer of Modern Chinese Poetry, Advanced Chinese, and Poetry Translation. In 2002, he entered the Doctoral program at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, as a long-distance student under the supervision of Professor Maghiel van Crevel. In September 2003, he was awarded a CCK Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, which made the writing of his thesis possible. He has published several English language translations of Chinese poetry and fiction in Canada, the USA, the UK, and the Netherlands, as well as articles on Chinese poetry and politics in the Czech Republic, Hongkong, and China (prior to 1989), and has given numerous public lectures and talks on Chinese literature, culture, and politics. His doctorate China's Second World of Poetry: The Sichuan Avant-Garde, 1982-1992 was published as an openly accessible e-book on the day of official graduation at the University of Leiden in October 2005. This, other internet-related work, and an anthology of translated poetry are available at http://www.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/dachs/leiden/poetry/index.html, the poetry page of the Digital Archive for Chinese Studies, a joint-project operated by the universities of Heidelberg and Leiden. Michael has recently emigrated to join his wife in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to his introduction, he has translated a number of poets in this issue
An essay on Xi Chuan's poetry: Maghiel van Crevel received his PhD (1996) in Chinese Literature from Leiden University. He lectured at the University of Sydney until taking up duty as Professor of Chinese language & literature at Leiden in 1999. Through regular fieldwork, with the help of authors, critics, publishers and literary activists, he has built an internationally unique collection of materials on contemporary mainland-Chinese poetry: journals, individual collections, multipleauthor anthologies, correspondence, audio and video recordings and so on with ample space for the underground and unofficial circuits that paved the way for todays avant-garde, and retain their importance to this day. Van Crevel has published extensively on mainlandChinese texts (poems), contexts (their cultural and sociopolitical surroundings) and metatexts (discourse on poetry), in English, Dutch and Chinese. His essay, Matter over MindOn Xi Chuan's Poetry is included in this issue, as are his translations of a number of poets.
Xi Chuan (real name: Liu Jun) is a poet, essayist and translator, and has been recognized as one of the most dynamic poets living in China today. He was born in 1963 in Jiangsu province, and graduated from the English Department of Peking University in 1985. After graduation he became an editor of the Globe magazine, compiled by the Xinhua News Agency. Xi Chuan plunged into writing innovative poetry writing in 1981. In 1988 he started with friends an unofficial poetry magazine named Tendency (which was banned after three issues), initiating the spirit of the intellectual in order to stand away from the orthodox ideology. He was also a member on the editorial board of another unofficial magazine, Modern Han Poetry (1990-1995). After his poet-friend Hai Zi committed suicide in the spring of 1989, Xi Chuan undertook the work of collecting and collating the posthumous works of the poet, and now Hai Zi is regarded as a poet-hero by the young generation. Xi Chuan is one of the key figures in the contemporary Chinese literary sphere. He has published four collections of poems including A Fictitious Family Tree (1997) and Roughly Speaking (1997), two books of essays and one book of critique, in addition to a play and numerous translations, including works of Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges and Czeslaw Milosz. His own poetry and essays have been widely anthologized. He was awarded the October Prize for literature by the October Bimonthly in 1988, the Prize of Shanghai Literature Monthly in 1992, the Prize of the People's Literature Monthly in 1994, the Modern Chinese Poetry Prize 1994, the Anne Kao Prize for Poetry in 1995, the Aiwen Prize for Literature in 1999. He is the winner of prizes, honors and fellowships including the Modern Chinese Poetry Award (1994), UNESCO-ASCHBERG bursaries of artists (1997), national Luxun Prize for Literature (2001), Zhuang Zhongwen Prize for Literature (2003). His poems and essays have been translated into English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Japanese, Korean, and others. In 1995, he was invited to the Poetry International, Rotterdam, Holland. In 1996 he visited Saskatoon, Regina and Calgary, Canada as a guest of the Visiting Foreign Artists' Program supported by the Canadian Department of External Affairs and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. In 1997, he was invited to the Biennale Internationale des Poetes en Val-de-Marne, Paris, France. In the same year, being a laureate of the UNESCO-ASCHBERG bursaries of artists, he had a three-month residency in New Delhi, India. He was one of the top ten winners in the Weimar International Essay Prize Contest (Germany, 1999), and was awarded a residency for three months at the Kunstlerhause Schloss Wiepersdorf, Germany, in 2000. In May of 2001, he was invited to the conference entitled Arte e Identidade Cultural na Construcao de um Mundo Solidario, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, organized by the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World. In the fall semester 2002, as a Freeman fellow, he participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, USA. In 2004, he was first invited to the Danish-Chinese Poetry Festival that took place in Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, then to the Berlin International Literature Festival, Germany. Xi Chuan is now teaching literature as an associate professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Zhai Yongming was born in 1955 in Chengdu, China. For two years as a teenager she was sent to do manual labor in the countryside; with her return to the city in the 1976, she devoted much of her energy to writing poetry, inspired by the breakthroughs that were taking place in literature in the early post-Mao period. She also studied in the Laser Technology Department of the Chengdu Institute for Telecommunications and Engineering, graduating in 1981. She began to publish poems in 1981; though her name means eternal light, she is a poet of inner psychological darkness. In 1984 her first cycle of 20 poems, Women, was published. It was followed by Jing'an Village, Life in This World, and The Designs of Death. Her poetry collections include Women (1986), Above All the Roses (1989), Collected Poems of Zhai Yongming (1994) and Plain Songs in the Dark Night (1997). Feminism is at the heart of her poetry; according to traditional Chinese thought, the feminine or yin principle is characterized by darkness, water and the spectral light of the moon, all images used in her work. She has been invited to international conferences and poetry festivals in England, Holland, France and Italy, and spent some eighteen months in the USA in 1990-1992.
Chen Dongdong was born in 1961 in Shanghai and is a graduate of the Chinese Department of Shanghai Normal University. He worked as a middle-school teacher in Shanghai, and is considered one of the leading poets of the 1990s generation. He has published a collection entitled Shipian (Poems) and is known for several long poems, including Zansong (Eulogy) and Xiju (Comedy). Chen Dongdong was detained in May 1997 for allegedly having had illicit sexual relations, and was released after ten months in custody; he had been poetry editor of Tendency Quarterly, a magazine that began in the Beijing underground in 1988 and was closely monitored because of its alleged links with the dissident community both within and outside China. Recipient of a Hellman-Hammett grant, he was banned from all official poetry activities and from publishing because he had defended free expression and refused to cooperate with police.
Yu Jian was born in 1954 in Ziyang in Sichuan province, but moved to Yunnan with his family at a very young age. He began writing poetry in the early 1970's, influenced both by classical Chinese poetry and modern Western writers such as Walt Whitman. In 1984, he was one of the founders of the unofficial literary magazine Them; in 1989 he published his first collection of poetry, 60 Poems. This was followed by The Naming of a Crow (1993), A Nail through the Sky (1999), Note Anthology (2001) and Anthology and Image (2003).The five-volume selected poetry and prose collection Yu Jian's Poems (2004) includes the definitive version of Flight. He has also published two books of prose, Notes on Brown Paper (1995) and Notes from the Human World (1997). In 1988, he received the inaugural Wang Zhong Cultural Award. He is also a director of documentary films: these include The Locomotive from 1910, Slow and he Blue Train Station. He has written three plays: In Connection with AIDS (performed in Beijing by the Mou Sen Theatre Workshop), About an Evening Conversation (Paris) and About a Discussion on the Far Shore of the Nature of Chinese Words.
Duoduo (real name Li Shizheng) was born in Beijing in 1951) and due to the Cultural Revolution was unable to finish his secondary education; he was put to work in the countryside from 1969 to 1975. He wrote his first poetry in 1972 and three years later also started to write prose. He was obliged to write clandestinely, never imagining he would one day have readers, but continued to write throughout the 1980's, publishing in samizdat publications, and then more openly as the authorities relaxed their grip. His poems and short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies, and in 1988 he was awarded First Prize at the Beijing University Art and Literature Festival. He left China for the first time at the invitation of Poetry International the morning after the Tiananmen massacre that he had witnessed; it was clear that he could not return to his country, and he stayed in Leiden as a guest of the Institute for Sinology and the Ludo Pieters Fund, becoming a Dutch citizen. Duoduo had worked as a journalist before leaving China, and wrote columns for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad for some years; these were published in the collection Bang dat ik verloren raak (Afraid of getting lost). The Boy Who Catches Wasps: Selected Poetry of Duo Duo was published in 2002. His work has been translated into Dutch, English, German, and Italian.
Sun Wenbo was born in 1956 in Shaanxi province, and moved with his family to Sichuan at a very young age. He wrote his first poetry in 1983, for a recital at the factory where he was working as a mechanic, but it was not until the late 1980's that he really got into his stride. His poems have appeared in a range of magazines and anthologies and he has become a distinct, contemporary voice in Chinese poetry. Within the framework of poetry from the People's Republic, his work stands out by paucity of imagery and a thoughtful tone unfit for grand gestures and intoxication. His poem The Program, written in 1994, could be read as an exposition on the pros and cons of loud and quiet styles.
Ouyang Jianghe was born in 1956 in Luzhou in Sichuan Province; because he shared the name Jianghe with the already famous Misty poet from Beijing, in 1985 he added Ouyang as a prefix to differentiate the two. Also in this year he began to participate in Sichuan's rowdy unofficial poetry scene, taking on a behind-the-scenes role in the production of journals such as Day By Day Make It New and Han Poetry, while contributing to most major journals in the province and some outside, such as Tendency, during the rest of the 1980's and on into the 1990's. During the same period, an increasing quantity of Ouyang's poetry and critical essays appeared in official literary journals, his first book-length collection of poetry and essays was officially published only in 1997. In the early 1990's, he was able to obtain a passport and spent several months in the USA and western Europe. He now resides in Beijing.
Wang Xiaoni is a product of the so-called obscure (menglong) generation of poets that emerged in China in the late 1970s. Even in the formative period of her career, she was very clear about what she was trying to achieve as a poet: in a brief statement entitled Wo yao shuo de hua (What I want to say) published in Fujian Literature in 1981, she says, I think good poetry comes with daring to, and being good at, exposing the complex state of the human psyche with skill and relative accuracy. To gloss over or to avoid such things as the relationship between people or the realities of society is negative, insincere and of no possible good. Her early poems were considerably unusual for their time because they carried no obvious political messages and emphasized intense or intimate personal feelings. Much of her 1990's suite of thirteen poems entitled On Visiting Friends is organized into sequences; publications have been Wode shixuan (My Selected Poems), 1986, Fangzhu Shenzhen (Exile in Shenzhen), prose, 1994, and Wode zhili baozhe wo de huo (My paper wraps my fire), poems, 1997. She took up a teaching position at Hainan University in September 2005.
Yin Lichuan, born in 1973, studied French at Peking University, the flagship of Academe in China, and film at the Paris Ecole Superieure Libre d'Etudes Cinematographiques. She was a member of a controversial group of authors called the Lower Body, grounded in the turbulent social realities of contemporary China, creating a sensation from the summer of 2000 until late 2001. Critics read lower body as a synonym for genitals, and equated Lower Body poetry with pornography, but it is too frequently ironic and insufficiently focused on sex for that; in its own inimitable way it reflects dark sides of life in China's big cities, viewed from within the ideological vacuum surrounding the urban young, and their concomitant lifestyles that is, a bittercheerful sense of No Future. The trivial texture of everyday life has been accepted subject matter in Chinese poetry since the 1980's; the tension here arises between two types of language: that of official reality as a product of socialist ideology, and the dispassionate reports of Yin Lichuan, in cool chatter, while what happens is enough to make one cringe. She has a regard for poetic form, in ditty-like, playful repetition, near-rhyme and beautifully flowing rhythm. She also writes prose and essays, but for the most part her work is only accessible on the Internet.
Yang Qian was a child during the Cultural Revolution, and graduated from the Journalism Department of the People's University in 1980. The fate of the Tian'anmen democracy movement convinced him that it was no longer possible to be a journalist, and he turned to fiction. After writing Intentional Injury, which debuted at the Chinese National Experimental Theatre, Beijing, Yang transferred to Shenzhen, working in the television broadcast station of the recently established Nanshan District Government. He began experimenting with performance in Shenzhen: he is the artistic director and founder of Fat Bird Theatre and artistic director and founder of Zero Sun Moon theatre club in Shenzhen. He is a grassroots theatre activist, also organizing children's theatre clubs. The loosening of political control over cultural production has enabled Yang to build a free-lance artistic career, able to participate in collaborations with Hong Kong and Singapore artists. With Fat Bird, he participated in the production of Fox Tales, which traveled to Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Singapore as part of Nuren Xi/Woman, an evening of three one-act plays in 2003/4. The Human City and City of Gods, two environmental performances engaged Shenzhen's changing urban landscape (2003). Awards include the Cao Yu Theatre Gold Medal for Neither Type Nor Category, national level award (2003); Shenzhen City Golden Autumn Bronze Medal for Hope, municipal level award (1997); Shenzhen Arts Recognition award for Intentional Injury (1996). He is adjunct professor of aesthetic theory at Shenzhen University.
Li Sen was born in 1966 in Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China. He has been working at Yunnan University since he graduated from the Department of Chinese, Yunnan University, in 1988. Currently, he is professor and Vice Dean of the College of Arts of Yunnan University. He has published several books, including Painters in My Heart, Absurd but Attractive Games, Accounts of Animals , and Birds' World . He is one of the poets known as They, an influential poetry group of Chinese Experimental poetry.
Li Nan, born in 1964 in Qinghai, People's Republic of China, now lives in Hebei. Since she started writing poetry in 1983, she has published two collections, and her work has been included in important anthologies of Chinese poetry. A former journalist, she is now a freelance writer. Poetry, she says, does not change my destiny but changes my view of destiny.
Han Dong was born in Nanjing in 1961. After graduation from Shandong University in 1982, he began work in Xi'an, where he edited his own small unofficial poetry journal (Old Home) and contributed to the then more influential Same Generation, out of Lanzhou in Gansu province. Upon returning to Nanjing in 1984, Han contacted old contributors to Old Home and poets such as Yu Jian and Wang Yin he had met via correspondence through Same Generation, and began to edit a new journal, Them... The first issue appeared in early 1985 and was followed by four more editions until 1989. Over the next four years, Han devoted much of his energy to writing fiction. Them reappeared in 1993, with a further four editions until 1995. In 1998 this was followed by an officially published anthology of Them poetry. Han continues to write both poetry and fiction, and contributes to the Them website at www.tamen.net where new issues of the Them webzine have been appearing since summer 2002.
Wang Jiaxin was born in Hubei, China in 1957. After having worked in the countryside for three years as a consequence of the cultural revolution, he studied at university, then worked as a reader for a poetry magazine. From 1992 to 1994, he traveled as a writer to England, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Since 1994, he has been a lecturer on modern Chinese literature and comparative literary studies at the Beijing Institute for Education Sciences. He has published poetry in China and in England: Stairway (1991), Watching (1993), Nightingale in his own time and The Wandering Rocks in 1996.
Woeser (Weise in Chinese) is a Tibetan poet from the western Tibetan area of Sichuan (Kham). She was born in 1966 and grew up in the midst of both Tibetan and Han Chinese cultures. She graduated from the Southwest Minority University Chinese Department, and has published articles, poetry, and prose in Chinese. In 1990, she returned to her birthplace, Lhasa, as an editor/writer for the journal Tibetan Literature. Her first poetry collection, Tibet Above, won a national minority literature award in 2001. However, her following book Notes on Tibet, a collection of prose on current Tibetan social realities, was banned by the central authorities. She has since lost her job and social benefits, but remains resolute in her mission to reclaim Tibet.
Meizhuo was born in 1966 in Amdo, east Tibet and lived in various places in the northeast provinces before her parents, both government employees, were stationed in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province. After graduating from Xining Teachers' College, Meizhuo was assigned to work at Xining Film Institute; later she was employed at the Literature and Art Association (Wenlian). At the Film Institute, she began to explore her interest in Tibetan culture. She published her first story in 1987. In 1997, her novel, The Clan of the Sun (Taiyang Buluo), won the national award for minority writers. She is a member of the Qinghai provincial writers' association and lives currently in Xining, Qinghai province.
minorities in China
Yidam Tsering was born in Tsongkhakar (Chinese: Pingan) county in Tsoshar prefecture (Chinese: Haidong) in 1933, into a poor family. As a child he was a shepherd and attended school sporadically. His formal education was disrupted by the arrival of the People's Liberation Army in Lanzhou, the capital of present-day Gansu: Yidam thought the PLA were good guys because they distributed food and money to the villagers, and joined the revolutionary ranks. In October of that year he joined a young cadres training class in Xining (capital of Qinghai) and studied for some months, then started to work in that school. In 1954, Yidam joined the Northwest Nationality Dance Troupe in Lanzhou as art and dance teacher and also choreographer; for the first time he started writing. He began to collect, arrange and translate Tibetan folk songs into Chinese and to compose new texts for ancient, well-known tunes. He published a collection of traditional folk songs in 1963 (Wedding Songs). Later he was deputy director of the Gansu Folk Art Research Committee. His own first poem, The Golden Steed (1958), was a hymn to the co-operative transformation of agriculture and the efforts and determination of people in constructing Socialism. In September 1964, he finished his first collection of poems, Snowy Mountains Collection, but due to the Cultural Revolution, the book was only published in 1980. During the Cultural Revolution, Yidam Tsering was stigmatised and early poems he had composed were burned by the Red Guards. He began searching for his Tibetan identity and became increasingly concerned with the development of Tibet and Tibetan educational improvement. An influential figure within the contemporary Tibetan literary scene and one of the first poets who introduced Tibetan culture into the Chinese language, he used Tibetan symbols such as the snow lion and snow, introducing Tibetan culture and history to a large Chinese readership. He only wrote in Chinese but his work was translated into Tibetan and was widely read. He became a prolific writer, producing among other publications five anthologies of poems and essays. In 'Crystalline Seeds', a poem written in 1983, Yidam Tsering celebrates the richness of the Tibetan language. He encouraged young Tibetan intellectuals to write in their mother tongue. Among his other literary activities was the compilation of a collection of essays in praise of the scientific achievements of the famous Tibetan activist and intellectual, Baba Phuntsog Wangyal. He was also requested by the editors of the prestigious literary journal sBrang char (Light Rain) to write the foreword for the eight volumes (poems, short stories, translations and essays) published to mark the 20th anniversary of the journal. Other well-known Tibetan writers also invited Yidam Tsering to write forewords for their books. His concern for Tibetan culture and language was uncompromising: during a public debate on contemporary Tibetan literature, he excluded his own writings as being part of Tibetan literature since they were written in a foreign language. He died on 24 October 2004 in Lanzhou.
Baitao is a Mongolian poet writing in Chinese from the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China. Born in 1959, he started writing poetry at twenty-one and has since published several poetry collections including his Arising from an Eagle, which received a national award for minority literature. His poetry has been praised for the elegant way it expresses the deep relationship between the Mongolian culture and their homeland, the steppe. Yet, he especially gives voice to the tragedy of environmental destruction being wrought by desertification of the grasslands in the modern era.
Shama is a Yi poet from the south western region of China, an area dubbed by the poet the Southern Highlands, which includes parts of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou provinces. The Yi are a minority ethnic group who live throughout this mountainous area and number over 6 million people. Known for their enchanting ballads and vivid folktales, the Yi have a colorful and diverse body of cultural traditions spread among several subgroups. Shama is a passionate member of this culture and strives to both share and preserve its traditions through his poetry. However, in the modernizing world of marginal China, Shama also reveals the pain of separation and the loss of identity in the rapidly changing landscape of the highlands. He himself embodies these colliding forces by simultaneously embracing the language of modernity, Chinese, and writing his people into the annuals of the cultural centre. Shama currently lives in Panzhihua, Sichuan where he works as an editor of a local government periodical.
Luruo Diji is a member of the Pumi ethnic minority in China. The Pumi are a small group of about 30,000 that live mostly in the higher elevations of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. They are related to the Qiang ethnic group, but also have their own unique religion and customs. Luruo Diji was born in 1967 in the southwest province of Yunnan. He has a degree in economic management and currently serves as the Deputy Director of Finance for his native county. He started writing as a student and has been published in numerous Chinese literary journals and newspapers. With a commendation from the well-known Chinese poet Yu Jian, Luruo Diji has become an increasingly familiar name in China as well as internationally. The striking sense of place and ethnic identity expressed in his poems seem to hint at a modern China that is vastly more dynamic than traditionally conceived.
Jimu Langge is an Yi poet born in 1963 in the Liangshan area of Sichuan. He started writing poetry at the age of twenty, and was a participant in the advant garde poetry style "Non-ism" based in Chengdu. As both an ethnic and an advant garde poet in China, he combines ethnic themes with a distinctly postmodern ethos. His treatment of issues such as national belonging and cultural hybridity display his multifaceted sense of irony. He currently lives in Chengdu.
Chinese poets abroad
Bei Dao Zhao Zhenkai was born in 1949 in Beijing: his pseudonym Bei Dao, literally, North Island, was suggested by a friend as a reference to his provenance from Northern China and his characteristic solitude. Both his father, an administrative cadre, and his mother, a medical doctor, came from traditional, middle-class Shanghai families. During the Cultural Revolution, he joined the Red Guard movement, expecting a spirit of cooperation between the Chinese Communist Party and the countrys intellectual elite; but like many other middle-class youth he soon became disillusioned and was later sent to the countryside, where he became a construction worker. By 1974, Bei Dao had begun a sequence of poems which probed the boundaries of the official literature of his time and were to become a guiding beacon for the youth of the April Fifth Democracy Movement of 1976, a peaceful demonstration in Tiananmen Square. He became one of the best-known of the so-called misty poets a term applied by the authorities in an attempt to dismiss their avant garde challenge to socialist realist hegemony. In 1978 he and colleague Mang Ke founded the underground literary magazine Jintian (Today), which ceased publication in 1980 under police order. In the early 1980s Bei Dao worked at the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing. He was the key target in the government's AntiSpiritual Pollution Campaign, but in 1983 he managed to meet secretly the American poet Allen Ginsberg, in China as part of a group of American authors. Bei Dao noted that Ginsberg was mostly interested in Bei Dao's dissident status: later they met several times, among others in South Korea, where Ginsberg upset high officials with his questions about Korea's human rights. In 1983 Bei Dao's poems were published in the East Asia Papers series of the Cornell University East Asia Program and in Renditions 19/20 in Hong Kong by The Chinese University Press. Poems also appeared in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (1984) and in Contemporary Chinese Literature (1985). When the political situation changed in the mid1980s, Bei Dao started to travel in Europe and in the United States, often with his wife, painter Shao Fei, and their daughter, Tiantian. Bei Dao's poetry is personal, depicting intimacies in a society where trust can literally be a matter of life and death, and has been said to represent the disillusionment of his generation. Although political control of the public debate showed some signs of relaxation, his poetry became more pessimistic, culminating in the nightmarish "Bai ri meng" (1986). Bei Dao shi xuan (1986, The August Sleepwalker), a collection of poems written between 1970 and 1886, was received with enthusiasm, but the book was soon banned by the authorities (published again in 1990). After a year in England, followed by a tour in the United States, Bei Dao returned to China in the late 1988. The novella Bodong (Waves), the first draft of which he had completed in 1974, stories about the "lost generation" of the Cultural Revolution, made Bei Dao one of the prominent figures in Chinese modernist fiction. It was followed by shorter prose text dealing with contemporary subjects, such as the gulf between the official truth and reality. In 1989 Bei Dao signed a letter with 33 intellectuals to the NPC and the Central Committee, which led to a petition campaign that called for the release of political prisoners, among them the democratic activist Wei Jingsheng. At the time of the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Bei Dao was in Berlin: some of his poems had been circulated by students during the democracy movement, and he was accused of helping to incite the events in the Square. He decided to stay in exile. Jintian was re-launched in Stockholm in 1990, and Bei Dao serves as the Editor-in-Chief. After teaching in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, Bei Dao moved to the U.S. and became a resident at the University of Michigan. His books of poetry include Old Snow (1991); At the Sky's Edge: Poems 19911996 (1996), for which David Hinton won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from The Academy of American Poets; Landscape Over Zero (1995); Forms of Distance (1994), and Unlock (2000). His awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Aragana Poetry Prize from the International Festival of Poetry in Casablanca, Morocco. He has been a candidate several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was elected an honorary member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He traveled to Palestine as part of a delegation for the International Parliament of Writers. Bei Dao was a Stanford Presidential lecturer and has taught at the University of California at Davis. He is currently the Mackey Poet in Residence at Beloit College, where he also served as the Lois Wilson Mackey '45 Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing.
Ha Jin (Xuefei Jin) is an accomplished poet, novelist, short story writer, and professor, born in mainland China. He grew up in a small rural town in Liaoning Province, and from the age of fourteen to nineteen volunteered to serve in the People's Liberation Army, stationed at the northeastern border between China and the former Soviet Union. He left because he wanted to go to college; but colleges remained closed during the Cultural Revolution, which continued when he was demobilized, so he worked as a telegrapher at a railroad company for three years in Jiamusi, a remote frontier city in the Northeast. In 1977 colleges reopened, and he passed the entrance exams and went to Heilongjiang University in Harbin where he was assigned to study English, even though this had been his last choice for a major. He received a B.A. in English in 1981, and then studied American literature at Shandong University, where he received an M.A. in 1984. The following year he came to the United States to do graduate work at Brandeis University, from which he earned Ph. D in English in 1993. As he watched the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989 on the television in his home in Boston, he realized he could never go back: it would be impossible to write honestly in China. Ha Jin had no audience in Chinese, and so chose to write in English: this meant much labor, some despair, and also freedom. Abandoning his plan to go back to China and teach, he secured a job at Emory University teaching creative writing.. The author of several critically acclaimed works, including Between Silences (University of Chicago Press, 1990), Facing Shadows (Hanging Loose Press, 1996); two collections of short stories, Under the Red Flag (University of Georgia Press, 1997), which received the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Award, and Oceans of Words (Zoland Books, 1996) which received the PEN Hemingway Award. He also published a novella, In the Pond (Zoland Books, 1998), which was selected as a best fiction book of 1998 by the Chicago Tribune. Set in China during the Cultural Revolution, Ha Jin's works explore the timeless themes of brutality, desire and wasted potential. Jin used his military experiences as raw material for the stories in Ocean of Words; while there are elements of his life and experiences in his work, he insists that it is not autobiographical. Waiting, his first full-length novel, was the winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction. He has also written a collection of stories called, The Bridegroom, published by Pantheon Books. His short stores have been included in The Best American Short Stories (1997 and 1999), three Pushcart Prize anthologies, and Norton Introduction to Fiction and Norton Introduction to Literature, among other anthologies.
Xue Di was born in Beijing in 1957. He is the author of three volumes of collected works and one book of criticism on contemporary Chinese poetry in Chinese. In English translation, he has published three full length books, Another Kind of Tenderness, An Ordinary Day and Heart into Soil, and four chapbooks, Forgive, Cat's Eye in a Splintered Mirror, Circumstances and Flames. His work has appeared in numerous American journals and anthologies and has been translated into English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese. Since shortly after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, he has been a fellow in Brown University's Freedom to Write Program in Providence, Rhode Island. Xue Di is a twotime recipient of the Hellman/Hammett Award, sponsored by Human Rights Watch.
Stephen Shu-Ning Liu was born in 1930, Fuling, China, near the Yangtze River, the son of a hermetic painter who was a landlord and the grandson of a Mandarin scholar who taught him Chinese classics when he was five. After graduation from Nanjing University in 1948 and military service in the Chinese Expeditionary Army, he came to America in 1952. He received his B. A. in English in1956 from Wayland Baptist College in Plainview, Texas, and his M. A. in English in 1959 at the University of Texas in Austin. He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota in 1973. With his degrees in English, Liu taught at colleges and universities including Northern Montana College (19661970), the College of San Mateo (California) as a visiting lecturer (summer 1968), as well as the University of North Dakota as a visiting lecturer (summer 1972). He returned to teach at the University of North Dakota from 19701973. In August 1973, he took a position as English professor at Clark County Community College, in Las Vegas, Nevada and remained there until his retirement in 2001. Liu wrote essays, short stories, and poems published in English and Chinese; his poetry has been published internationally in many literary magazines, anthologies and college texts. He was the first Nevadan to receive a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts (198182) and won a Pushcart Prize for poetry in 1982. In 1985, he won the Nevada Governor's Award for Literature.
Arthur Sze, born in New York City in 1950, is a second-generation Chinese American. Educated at the University of California, Berkeley, Sze is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including Archipelago (Copper Canyon, 1995), River River (Lost Road, 1987), Dazzled (Floating Island, 1982), Two Ravens (1976; revised edition, Tooth of Time, 1984), The Willow Wind (1972; revised edition, Tooth of Time, 1981), The Redshifting Web: Poems 19701998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1998), a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and, most recently, Quipu (Copper Canyon, 2005). Sze directs the Creative Writing Program at the Institute for American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has taught for more than a decade. He became well-known in New Mexico as a distinctive and compelling presence in the poetry of the region, and was co-publisher, with John Brandi, of Tooth of Time books. He has won numerous awards; an Asian American Literary Award, a Balcones Poetry Prize, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, an American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, three Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry Fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, a George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship, a New Mexico Arts Division Interdisciplinary Grand, and the Eisner Prize, University of California at Berkely. His poems have also appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and he has conducted residences at Brown University, Bard College and the Naropa Institute. Rich in allusions, his poetry evinces a preference for Asian juxtaposition rather than Western rhetoric. Sze made his debut as an equally exceptional translator with the publication of The Silk Dragon (Copper Canyon Press, 2001), which follow the trajectory of Sze's interests in Chinese literature, from the classic T'ang masters, Wang Wei, Li Po and Tu Fu to important contemporary poets such as Wen I-to and Yen Chen. (The Silk Dragon was featured in a previous issue of The Drunken Boat along with a selection of work, and an interview with Sze.
Timothy Liu was born to parents from the Chinese mainland in San Jose, California in 1965 and educated at UCLA, Brigham Young University (B.A. in English) the University of Houston (M.A. in English) and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In addition to California, Utah, Texas, and Massachusetts, he lived in Hong Kong for two years as a Mormon missionary and in Iowa for four years as an Assistant Professor at Cornell College. Place affects his imagination; Liu struggles to balance the internal, sensitive, solitary world of the poet against the external struggle of an Asian, Mormon, gay man with everyday living. His first book of poems, Vox Angelica (Alice James Books), received the 1992 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His other books are Burnt Offerings (1995) and Say Goodnight (1998), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, both published by Copper Canyon Press; Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001) and Of Thee I Sing (University of Georgia Press, 2004), selected as a 2004 Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. A new book of poems, For Dust Thou Art, is forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in Fall 2005. He is also Editor of Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry (Talisman, 2000). His poems have been included in more than twenty anthologies and have appeared in such magazines and journals as Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, Grand Street, Chelsea, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and TriQuarterly. An Associate Professor of English at William Paterson University, he lives in Hoboken, NJ.
Chen Kehua was born in Hualian on the east coast of Taiwan in 1961. He began writing poetry in 1976 while in high school, and published his first collection, Whale Boy, in 1981. His most recent collections are Engaging in a Complicated Poetry for the Sake of Death (1998) and Flowers and Tears and Rivers (2001). He works as an opthalmologist at the Veterans Hospital in Taipei, and it is tempting to view his poetry in the same light: as a rigorous though magical procedure for the removal of all the various forms of darkness that beset the human mind. He was disillusioned early with the shining 'ideals of consumer society; for him, reality was not only to be criticized it had to be entirely re-imagined as well'. In more recent poetry written during the 1990s Chen Kehua's poetry has become both more speculative and introspective, with Buddhist elements conspicuous.
Chen Li, born in 1954 and raised in Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan, is regarded as one of the most innovative and exciting poets writing in Chinese today. He started writing poetry in the 1970's, under the influence of modernism. He turned to social and political themes in the 1980's, and in the 1990's explored a wide range of subjects and styles, combining formal and linguistic experiments with concern for indigenous cultures and the formation of a new Taiwanese identity. He subtly mixes in his poetry the elements of Western modernism and post-modernism with the merits of Oriental poetics and the Chinese language. To date he has published seven books of poetry and won many awards for his work, as well as being a prolific prose writer and translator. In collaboration with his wife Chang Fen-ling, he has translated into Chinese the work of a large number of Latin American, East European as well as English poets, including Neruda, Paz, Szymborska and Heaney. In 1999, he was invited to Rotterdam Poetry International. In 2004, he was invited to Salon du Livre in Paris. His poems have been translated into English, French, Dutch, Japanese and other languages.
Hsia Yü (or Xia Yu, as her name is sometimes spelled) was born in Taiwan but now divides her time between Paris and Taipei, where she makes a living as a lyricist and translator and enjoys a much-deserved reputation for being one of the most provocative and cosmopolitan poets writing in Chinese today. She is a founding editor of the Taiwan poetry journal Xianzai Shi (Poetry Now) and the author of four volumes of verse, most recently Salsa (1999).
Hung Hung is the pen-name of Yen Hung-ya. Born in 1964 in Taiwan, Hung Hung is a poet, translator, and award-winning filmmaker and theatre director. A graduate of the National Institute of Arts, Theatre Department, and a founding editor of On Time Poetry, he has published five volumes of poetry as well as short fiction, intimate essays and theatre criticism, plus numerous translations from English, French, and other languages. He is a graduate of the National Institute of Arts and has, at one time or another, been a chief editor of Performing Arts Review and The Modernist Poetry (the leading publications in their respective fields in Taiwan); artistic and stage director of Stalker Theatre Group, which was founded in 1994; co-author of the script for Edward Yang's film, A Brighter Summer Day (1991); and director of more than a dozen plays, three operas, and three films. His first film, The Love of Three Oranges (1998), was invited to the Venice International Film Festival and won the Prix FIPRESCI at the Chicago Film Festival and the Prix Jacques Demy (for Best Director) at the Festival des 3 Continents. The Human Comedy (2001), his second cinematic venture, won the Prix du Public at the Festival des 3 Continents as well as the Best Film Award at Muscat Film Festival. His latest film, A Garden in the Sky, is a digital film full of visual excitements and fantastic imagination and was invited to the Moscow International Film Festival. He is now working on his next film project, and has served as curator of the Taipei Poetry Festival since 2004.
Christopher Kelen is a well known Australian poet whose works have been widely published and broadcast since the mid seventies. The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes Kelens work as typically innovative and intellectually sharp. Kelen holds degrees in literature and linguistics from the University of Sydney and a doctorate on the teaching of the writing process, from UWS Nepean. Kelens first volume of poetry, The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees, won an Anne Elder Award in 1992. In 1988 Kelen won an ABA/ABC bicentennial award with his poem Views from Pinchgut. In 1996 he was Writer-in-Residence for the Australia Council at the B. R. Whiting Library in Rome. In 1999 he won the Blundstone National Essay Contest, conducted by Island journal. He also won second prize in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Award that year. In 2000 Kelen's poetry/art collaboration (with Carol Archer) Tai Mo Shan/Big Hat Mountain was exhibited at the Montblanc Gallery in Hong Kong's Fringe Club. And in 2001 another collaboration (essay and watercolor) titled Shui Yi Meng/Sleep to Dream was shown at the Montblanc Gallery. Both exhibitions have been published as full color catalogues. Kelen's fourth book of poems, Republics, dealing with the ethics of identity in millennial Australia, was published by Five Islands Press in Australia in 2000. A fifth volume, New Territories, a pilgrimage through Hong Kong structured after Dante's Divine Comedy, was published with the aid of the Hong Kong Arts Development Board in 2003. In 2004 Kelen's chapbook Wyoming Suite: North American Sojourn was released by VAC Publishing in Chicago. In 2005, Kelen's long poem Macao was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize and a re-edited version of Tai Mo Shan appeared in Southerly. Kelen's most recent volume of poems is Eight Days in Lhasa (VAC, 2006). A new volume of Macao poems Dredging the Delta is forthcoming from Cinnamon Press in the U.K. Apart from poetry Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas including writing pedagogy, ethics, rhetoric, cultural and literary studies and various intersections of these. Kelen is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Macau, where he has taught Literature and Creative Writing since 2000. He is the principal investigator in the University of Macau's Poems and Stories of Macao Research Project and the editor of the online journal Writing Macao: creative text and teaching.
Papa Osmubal , real name Oscar Balajadia, is a Macao resident of Filipino origins, married to a Chinese local. He is a teacher and a Masters student of Dr. Chrisopher Kelen at the University of Macao. He writes in Tagalog and another Filipino language as well, but mainly in English. He has published two books of poetry, Parnaso, in Filipino (1991, Angeles City, Philippines) and Lighthouse, in English (1999, Quezon City, Philippines). His poems have been published in Poems Niederngasse, Adagio Verse Quarterly (USA), Mitochondria (USA), Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), LauraHird, Muse Apprentice Magazine, Retort Magazine (Australia), Jacobyte Poetry (Australia), Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic, National Midweek, A Critical Survey of Philippine Literature, The Surface (USA), Aesthetica: a Review of Contemporary Artists (UK), Stylus Poetry Journal (AustraliaNew Zealand), Our Own Voice: Filipino Literature in the Diaspora, Dalityapi Makata, Bird and Egg, Spreadhead, Spillway Magazine, Rattle Magazine, Wild East (Hong Kong Literary Circle), and others. Several poems of his are forthcoming in the future issues of literary magazines including Snow Monkey, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), and others. His work will be anthologized in Synaptic Graffiti: Slam the Body Politik (poetry on CD, Australia) and in Mitochondria: an Anthology of Rarities and Loose Ends. He has just finished writing the manuscript of his next book entitled 'Voice in the Air'. An amateur artist, he has held early 2004 a solo art exhibition entitled White and Black at UNESCO Center in Macao, through the sponsorship of Macao Foundation.
Yao Feng (Yao Jing Ming), a Macau poet and professor, lectures in the Portuguese Department at the University of Macau. He has published a number of volumes of poetry and edited and translated into Chinese the poetry of Portuguese contemporary authors Selecta de Poetas Portugueses Contemporâneos (1999) and A Noite Deita-se Comigo (2001). He was co-organizer and translator of the bilingual Anthology of Macau poets Antologia de Poetas de Macau (1999). His poems have been selected for many different poetry anthologies. He is also the editor of Poesia Sino-Ocidental.
Jenny Oliveros Lao has a degree in Tourism Studies, and an MBA from the Inter-University Institute of Macau. She is currently a lecturer in English at the Macau Polytechnic Institute and an MA student in English Studies at the University of Macau.
Agnes Lam Iok Fong was born in Macau, and is a poet, columnist on two dailies in Macao, and current Vice President of Macau PEN. She has published four books in Macao and mainland China; of these two are collections of poems and two of non-fiction. Three of her poems won the Macao Literature Prize in the 1990s. She is chief editor of New Generation magazine. She teaches broadcast and print journalism at the University of Macau.
Agnes Vong Lai Ieng graduated from the University of Macau in 2002 and is currently writing her MA thesis on the topic, Macao Poetry Today a study of contemporary writing across cultures. Her translations also appear in this issue.
in Hong Kong
P.K. Leung , or Leung Ping-Kwan, has published 10 volumes of poetry, including the bilingual volumes City at the End of Time, Foodscape, Clothink. His selection of poems Travelling with a Bitter Melon was published by Asia 2000. He teaches literature and film at Lingnan University. He was writer in residence in Berlin in 1998, and a volume of poems, The Politics of Vegetable, was translated into German and published in Berlin. Leung is also a fiction writer, and a collection of his stories in French translation, Iles et continents, was published by Gallimard.
Louise Shew Wan Ho taught Shakespeare and English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, giving poetry readings internationally and publishing poems in Australian, American, British and Canadian magazines. A collection of her poems, Local Habitation, was published in 1994 by the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong, and Twilight Books. A second collection, New Ends, Old Beginnings, was published by Asia 2000 in 1997. Louise Ho has retired and lives in Australia.
Alan Jefferies moved to Hong Kong from Sydney in 1998. He holds degrees in Writing and Communication, and has worked as an English teacher, librarian, and teacher of creative writing. He is the author of four books, including Blood Angels: Poems 19761997. He is one of the initiators of the Outloud poetry readings and collaborative events in Hong Kong.
Timothy Kaiser was born in Iowa, USA, and grew up in the rugged mountains of northwest British Columbia and on the plains of wheatbelt Saskatchewan, Canada. He holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong. His work has been published in Canada (The Antigonish Review, Wascana Review), the US (Atlanta Review), the UK (Dream Catcher), and in Hong Kong (City Voices, Outloud, Yuan Yang). Recently, his story about a teacher on a Dene First Nations reserve in northern Saskatchewan, "Mother Margaret and the Rhinoceros Cafe", won first prize in the 2003 Canadian Cross-Cultural Short Story Competition. Tim teaches secondary English and history at the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. His wife is from a Hakka village in the New Territories of Hong Kong; the couple lived with her family during his first years in Hong Kong and village life is represented in many of Tim's poems.
Felix Cheong Seng Fei graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA (Hons) in 1990 and completed his Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland in 2002. He was the recipient of the National Arts Council's Young Artist of the Year for Literature Award in 2000. His three books of poetry are Temptation and Other Poems (1998), I Watch the Stars Go Out (1999) and Broken by the Rain (2003). His work has also been published in newspapers, poetry websites, foreign journals and 6 anthologies of Singaporean poetry. As a literary activist, he has been involved in promoting Singaporean literature abroad. He was instrumental in organizing a Singapore contingent of writers on 4 successful reading tours The Philippines (January 2001), Australia (July 2001), the US (April 2002) and the UK (August 2003). Felix has been invited to perform his work at the Brisbane Writers' Festival, the Queensland Poetry Festival, the Hong Kong Literary Festival, the Singapore Writers' Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Gilbert Koh was born in 1973 and is a lawyer working in Singapore. He was the winner of the 2005 Golden Point Award for Poetry. His poems have been published in anthologies, literary journals and poetry websites internationally. Credits include Atlanta Review (the US); Yuan Yang (Hong Kong); Papertiger New World Poetry (Australia); Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (Singapore); Softblow (Singapore); Love Gathers All:The Sinapore-Philippines Anthology of Love Poetry (Philippines & Singapore); and Graphic Poetry (the UK).
Yong Shu Hoong was born in 1966 in Singapore, and graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Computer Science degree in 1990; he has a MBA from Texas A&M University at College Station. During this time he wrote the poetry collection Pangs of Hunger, shortlisted for the 1995 Singapore Literature Prize. His first book of poetry, Isaac (1997), featured poems written between 1992 and 1997, including several taken from the unpublished Pangs of Hunger. The book was nominated for National Book Development Council of Singapore's Book Award. One of the poems, The Sobering Age, was chosen for the 1999 Poems On The Move program and displayed on Mass Rapid Transit trains, and at bus stops and public housing estates. Isaac Revisited, a rearrangement of Isaac with eight additional poems, was released in 2001. Two additional collections of his poetry have been published: dowhile (2002) and Frottage (2005). He currently works as a journalist in Singapore; his writings have appeared in publications including BigO, The New Paper, The Straits Times, The Arts Magazine, and the South China Morning Post, and on Web sites including Orientation and the MTV Asia website. Yong's poems are also included in anthologies like No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry, Rhythms: A Singaporean Millennial Anthology of Poetry and Love Gathers All: The Singapore-Philippines Anthology of Love Poetry. Yong is active in promoting Singapore literature both locally and overseas: he is the organizer of the monthly subTEXT reading at The Book Café. He has also participated in readings and literary festivals held in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, England, Australia and the United States of America.
Alvin Pang, born in Singapore in 1972, is the author of two Straits Times Top Ten Books of the Year: Testing The Silence (1997), nominated for the National Book Development Council for the Book Awards in 1998/9, and City of Rain (2003). A first class honors graduate in Literature from the University of York, he was also an Honorary Fellow in Writing with the University of Iowa's International Writing Program (2002). A former teacher, civil servant, journalist, columnist and online producer, Pang is founder and editor of online poetry anthology The Poetry Billboard, and manages literary websites including the Literary Singapore news website, writer.per.sg, and verbosity.net, where his articles, essays and commentaries appear. He was coeditor of No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (2000) and one of a quartet of bilateral editors who developed Love Gathers All: A Singapore-Filippino Love Poetry Anthology (2002). Pang was the featured poet of the Spring 2002 issue of the Atlanta Review; his work has been featured in journals such as the English Review (UK), Paper Tiger (Australia), Interlogue: Studies in Singapore Literature, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Rhythms: The Millennium Anthology of Singapore Poetry, for which he was also the English Language Poetry Editor. He is the Country Editor (Singapore) for the forthcoming Penguin Book of Southeast Asian Verse. A recipient of several Singapore International Foundation and National Arts Council grants, Pang has made international appearances in support of Singaporean writing and frequently assists the National Arts Council in literary projects. He contributes commentary to The Straits Times, and is a founding director of the Wordfeast international poetry festival and The Literary Centre (Singapore). He served on the organizing committees of the Singapore Writer's Festivals in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003. He led a delegation of Singapore writers to Australia in July 2001, another to the Austin International Poetry Festival in April 2002, and attended the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2003 as an invited international writer.
Robert Yeo (b. 1940) belongs to what may be called the second generation of Singapore poets, and has written significant poetry and fiction but is probably best known for his drama, a notable force in theatre development since his first play, The Adventures of Holden Heng, appeared in 1969. He is one of the first playwrights to dare to explore political issues openly in his work. He addresses directly and indirectly many issues relating to post-colonial writing, censorship and political sensitivities, social and educational changes, and local personalities. He has published four books of poetry, one novel, and written five plays, all of which have been performed in Singapore and abroad. A Part of Three, Poems 1966-1988, was published in 1989: written over a span of 25 years, these range from short, compressed and formal lyrics to longer, free verse pieces; tonally, they are in turn serious, ironic, reflective and satirical. His other works include Changi, which examined the Internal Security Act at the level of the individual experience, which remains relevant even now in the post 9/11 era. More recently, a book has been written on Robert's work, his motivations and the messages that he sought to bring forth in the early years of Singapore's development and even in contemporary Singapore. Volume 5 of the Interlogue Series of Studies in Singapore Literature is devoted to Roberts work.
Eddie Tay was a research scholar at the National University of Singapore whose research interests included the literature and culture of Singapore; he is currently a Ph.D. student at the Department of English, University of Hong Kong, conducting research on representations of Malaya in the writings of Maugham and Burgess alongside the thematics of nationalism and transnationalism in the literature of Singapore and Malaysia. His first book of poetry, Remnants, consists of renditions of the mythic and colonial history of Malaya as well as homage to the Tang Dynasty poets Li Po, Tu Fu and Li Ho. His second volume of poetry, A Lover's Soliloquy, extends his interests in Tang Dynasty poetry through renditions of the erotic poetry of Li Shang-yin. It also explores in the language of eroticism the modern city life. The poems included are taken from Tay's second volume.
Toh Hsien Min has published two collections of poetry, Iambus (Singapore, 1994) and The Enclosure of Love (Singapore, 2001). His work has also been published in periodicals such as Acumen, Atlanta Review, London Magazine, The London Review of Books, Oxford Poetry and Poetry Ireland Review, as well as anthologies such as the OxfordCambridge May Anthologies, No Other City and Love Gathers All. He has read his work at international literary festivals such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Austin International Poetry Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival. Hsien Min is the founding editor of the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (www.qlrs.com), the leading literary journal in Singapore, a founding director of The Literary Centre (Singapore) and an organizer for Singapore's first international poetry festival, Wordfeast. He is a past winner of the Shell-National Arts Council Scholarship for the Arts. Hsien Min read English at Keble College, Oxford, where he was also President of the Oxford University Poetry Society.
Cyril Wong (1977) is the author of four collections of poetry in Singapore. Internationally, his poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, Cider Press Review and Asheville Poetry Review. He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. He was a featured poet at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival; and is the founder of Softblow, an online international poetry journal. His Still Flight, 2005, was first staged as a one-woman monologue in English.
Arthur Yap was born in Singapore in 1943; he was educated at the University of Singapore and the University of Leeds in England, and obtained his PhD from the National University of Singapore. His first collection of poems, Only Lines, published in 1971, received the National Book Development Council of Singapore's first award for poetry. He also received the Council's award for Down the Line in 1982 and Man Snake Apple in 1988. His poetic career stretches over more than a quarter-century: writing in the period from the 1950's to 1970's, when Singapore had only just been separated from Malaysia to become an independent state in 1965, after almost one hundred and fifty years of British colonialism. Yap was among the poets reacting to these uncertainties. The resistance offered by Yap is not to national entities but to ordinary people who deny faith in and responsiveness to what their conformity blinds them to. Portraying a self alienated from the drives of society, his poetry is perceptive rather than angry or reproachful, and his keen ear for mimicry allows him to depict with intonation while keeping himself in the background, as if disguised. He was represented in the collective Five Takes (1974) and in Seven Poets (1973). In 1983, he was awarded the prestigious Southeast Asia Write Award in Bangkok and the Cultural Medallion for Literature in Singapore. Collections of his poetry include Commonplace (1977); selected poems from Down the Line and Man Snake Apple & Other Poems have been put together in The Space of City Trees (2000). His poems have also been translated into Japanese, Mandarin and Malay. He has been influential among the younger generations of Singapore writers, and published new poems in the Books section of the Straits Times Life and in QLRS in October 2001. Yap is also an artist who has held seven solo exhibitions in Singapore as well as participated in group exhibitions in Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.
d dayton is a student of contemporary Chinese poetry, prose, and film. His research focuses on the literature of the periphery in China such as minority writers who write in Chinese and Chinese writers that conceive of themselves as outside the 'cultural center'. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia.
Huichun (Amy) Liang is a Chinese Lecturer at Northeastern Illinois University and Lake Forest College. Her translations have appeared on the Transparent Languages multi-media web pages and dictionary; and her writing has appeared in Da Gong (Hong Kong), Sing Tao Daily (US), and a variety of media in the People's Republic of China.
Steven Schroeder is a poet and philosopher who teaches and writes in Chicago and Shenzhen, China. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of literary journals (including Rhino). His most recent collection is Revolutionary Patience, published by Virtual Artists Collective in 2004
Yangdon Dhondup holds a Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Simon Patton was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1961. He currently works as a freelance literary translator based in Brisbane. He also co-edits the China domain of Poetry International Web with the mainland Chinese poet Yu Jian at china.poetryinternational.org.
Alison Mara Friedman graduated from Brown University with a degree in Comparative Literature. She currently lives in Beijing where she writes about dance in China and also works for China Radio International.
Wang Hao, born in 1974 in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China, is assistant research fellow at Yunnan University where he studied English and literary theory. He has been working at the International Exchange Programs of Yunnan University since 1997.
Andrea Lingenfelter Andrea Lingenfelter is a translator of contemporary Chinese poetry, fiction, and occasional film subtitles. She has translated the work of Xia Yu, Zhai Yongming, Ling Yu, Liu Kexiang, Lin Yaode, Luo Ying, Feng Qing, Sun Weimin, Fu Tianlin and others. She is also the translator of several novels, including Farewell My Concubine by Lilian Lee, and Candy by Mian Mian. She composed the English subtitles for Chen Kaige’s 1996 film, Temptress Moon. Ms. Lingenfelter has a doctorate from the University of Washington and currently resides in Seattle.
Christine Tsui-hua Huangwas born in Taipei in 1965 and majored in Foreign Literature at National Taiwan University, working alternatively as film programmer (Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival etc.), film producer (Hung Hung’s first 3 films) and as free-lance translator. An all-time firm supporter of literature and art, she is now Festival Director of Women Make Waves Film Festival 2006 (Taiwan).