introduced and edited by Mark Bender
Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania, Cambria Sinophone World Series, 2017
The Borderlands of Asia is a collection of works by poets of diverse cultural backgrounds from the borders of China and India: the Himalayas, Northeast India, Myanmar, West and Southwest China, and Mongolia. The book is the result of Mark Bender’s personal connection and research in those areas since the early 1980s. The themes include rapid environmental change, such as resource extraction; damming of rivers; loss of wildlife and habitat; population displacement; and how these changes influence traditional culture. (Adapted from publisher’s description)
Mark Bender is a professor of Chinese literature and folklore at The Ohio State University.
by Jack London
Introduction by Davide Sapienza
London was a significant writer of the early twentieth century; his most notable works include include Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. But more than that, he was also a photographer (referring to his images as human documents) and the camera was to become his inseparable companion on adventures and assignments all over the world. This book presents a wide selection of his photographs, accompanied by passages taken from some of his greatest works, of fiction and journalism: essential milestones in which London became witness to the great events of his time, their contours expanding and emerging from the human documents of The People of the Abyss, the Russo-Japanese War, the San Francisco earthquake and the incredible voyage of the Snark. (Adapted from publisher’s description)
Davide Sapienza is an Italian writer, translator, and journalist.
Translated by Sholeh Wolpé
W. W. Norton & Company, 2017
Considered by Rumi to be “the master” of Sufi mystic poetry, Attar is best known for his epic poem The Conference of the Birds, a magnificent allegorical tale about the soul’s search for meaning. The poem recounts the perilous journey of the world’s birds to the faraway peaks of Mount Qaf―a mythical mountain that wraps around the earth―in search of the mysterious Simurgh, their king. Attar’s beguiling anecdotes and humor intermingle the sublime with the mundane, the spiritual with the worldly, and the religious with the metaphysical. Reflecting the entire evolution of Sufi mystic tradition, Attar’s poem models the soul’s escape from the mind’s rational embrace. (Publisher’s Description)
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-American poet and writer. She is the recipient of the PEN/Heim Grant, the Midwest Book Award, and the Lois Roth Persian Translation Prize, among others.
Year of Reversible Loss by Norma Farber
El León Literary Arts, 2012
Year of Reversible Loss is an exquisite cornucopia of meditative insight and poetry, pondering the trajectory of grief and capturing its changing rhythms through gemlike poetry and sustained passages of remembrance and reflection. Norma Farber traces the turning of the seasons as a deeply felt metaphor for the journey of the grieving heart in this journal of the year following the death of her husband, Sidney Farber, dedicated pioneer in the field of pediatric oncology.
Where once a leaf clung,
the ashtree wears a scar,
a moon halted at half.
Her observations of the natural world as well as the hidden recesses of the heart are startling, fresh, and brilliant, at once keenly personal and sublimely transcendent.
Sign your name on the wind.
Then I’ll know which way
to follow you.
This is a book to be savored for its insight and surprising humor, and for its passionate, astounding beauty.
Reviewed by Lillian Howan, author of The Charm Buyers.
Foreign Language Publications, The Ohio State University, 2016
Coyote Traces author Aku Wuwu, of the Yi ethnic minority in Southwest China, shares his real journey through both nations and the internconnection of cultures and languages.
In the words of author Aku Wuwu: “In these poems, I have tried to record the tangible and intangible heritages of Native Americans as I perceive them. In the process, I occassionally invoke my own Nuosu heritage. Imbibing the fresh air of other peoples’ cultures, I ponder over my personal spiritual life and the home of my soul. I wish to combine these shattered fragments into some serious ideas and thoughts. While writing these so-called cross-lingual and cross-cultural texts, I have attempted to explore the real nature of humanity, which has occassionally turned out to be a spiritual pilgramage back to my own native civilization.”
The collection of 80 poems, written in both Chinese and English translations, includes 9 full-color photo plates from the author’s journey. Paperback, 377 pages. (Publisher’s description)
Sutajio Wena, 2016
Ramen, also known as chukka soba (Chinese noodles), originated in China and spread to Japan in the 1880’s. Japanese troops returning from colonial Manchuria further popularized this dish. This short story, written in English and Chinese (simple script) for English-speaking students of the Chinese language, is set during the last days of the Second World War, when a Japanese military officer rediscovers his memories associated with ramen on the streets of Occupied Singapore. Illustrated with black and white photographs of Japan and Singapore. Features a photo gallery, with explanations, of noodle dishes in Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and America. Includes a study guide for students. (Publisher’s description)
When Japan surrendered to the Allies at the end of WWII, more than 6 million of their citizens were left stranded abroad. In China alone there were 2.6 million Japanese, despised by the world and forgotten by their government. Determined to survive, the brilliant military doctor Arthur Hayashi, in Wena Poon’s latest novel, hides in Communist China for decades and leaves his granddaughter an unforgettable legacy. According to Poon, “Hayashi is a role I created in order to answer my own question, ‘What does it mean to look exactly like the enemy?’” (Adapted from the Japan Times)
Wena Poon’s first novel, Alex y Robert, was adapted by the BBC and broadcast as a 10-episode Radio 4 series. Born and raised in Singapore, Poon graduated from Harvard Law School and is a lawyer by profession.
by Simon Perchik
River Otter, 2016
Simon Perchik’s poems are astonishing, unadorned, unpretentious, pure music and thought, which seem to arise together as inevitable and unalterable. With few other poets do we feel as though we are listening to poetry itself, unmediated by an author, speaking in its own voice, in its own terms, of its own concerns. A reader returns to Perchik’s work again and again and is always refreshed, surprised, and thankful for its lyrical wholeness. — Frank Stewart
Simon Perchik was born in 1923 and began publishing poetry the 1960s. Educated at New York University, he now lives in East Hampton, New York. Library Journal has referred to Perchik as “the most widely published unknown poet in America.” He has has published over twenty books.