My Funeral Gondola

my_funeral_gondola_fullby Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Mānoa Books and El León Literary Arts, 2013

Melissa Kwasny writes that the poems in Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s second collection of poetry, My Funeral Gondola, “navigate the swells of loss…I recognize this speech, haunting and strange, the speech of true poets.”

In My Funeral Gondola, Sze-Lorrain takes on departures and rifts in a lyrical voice that reclaims the personal and the universal. As if to subvert expectations in narrative, memory and experience, these poems speak through their restraint to the meditations, bittersweet struggles, and inner intensities of an existence that trusts the music, the distance, and the timeless.

Sze-Lorrain’s debut collection of poetry, Water the Moon, was published in 2010. In addition to her books of translation of Chinese poets from Zephyr Press, she has translated several contemporary French and American authors and co-edited the Mãnoa/University of Hawai’i Press anthologies Sky Lanterns (summer 2012) and On Freedom (winter 2012). An editor at Cerise Press and Vif éditions, she is also a zheng harpist and orchid healer.

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Wind Says

Wind Says- Bai Huaselected poems by Bai Hua
translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Zephyr Press, The Chinese University Press of Hong Kong,
and Brookline Mass | Hong Kong

Bai Hua  is a central literary figure of the post-Obscure (or post-“Misty”) poetry movement during the 1980s. Born in 1956 in Chongqing, he studied English literature at Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute before graduating with a Master’s degree in Western Literary History from Sichuan University. His first collection of poems, Expression (1988), received immediate critical acclaim.  Bai Hua’s poetic output is considerably modest but selective; in the past thirty years he has written only about ninety poems. After a decade-long silence, he began writing poetry again in 2007. That same year, his work garnered the prestigious Rougang Poetry Award. A prolific writer of critical prose and hybrid texts, Bai Hua is also a recipient of the Anne Kao Poetry Prize. Currently living in Chengdu, Sichuan, he teaches at the Southwest Jiaotong University.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s debut collection of poetry, Water the Moon, was published in 2010. In addition to her books of translation of Chinese poets from Zephyr Press, she has translated several contemporary French and American authors, and co-edited the Manoa anthology, Sky Lanterns (University of Hawai’i Press, 2012). An editor at Cerise Press and Vif éditions, she lives in Paris. (adapted from inside cover)

 

Forms of Feeling

by John Morgan
Salmon Poetry

In Forms of Feeling: Poetry in Our Lives, John Morgan investigates the role of poetry in the contemporary world, including where poems come from, what the audience for poetry is, and the ways in which poetry can offer a spiritual path in a secular time. He  also discusses a variety of approaches to writing poems, and spells out the importance of place in a poet’s work, focusing on his experiences in moving from New York to Alaska.  At the same time, the book explores one poet’s development from a raw beginner to a widely recognized teacher and practitioner of the craft. (Publisher’s description)

John Morgan was born in New York City, and currently splits his time between Fairbanks, Alaska and Bellingham, Washington. He is a winner of the Hatch Prize for Lyric Poetry, and an MFA holder from the University of Iowa. His works include The Bone Duster (1980), The Arctic Herd (1984),  Walking Past Midnight (1989), and several chapbooks. Two of the poems in Forms of Feeling originally appeared in the MĀNOA Journal. Forms of Feeling contains not only poems, but essays and interviews from the author, and is aimed at any reader with an interest in poetry.

Lines for Birds

poems and paintingspoems & paintings
by Barry Hill & John Wolseley

Lines for Birds is the result of a collaboration between painter John Wolseley and award-winning poet Barry Hill. The book follows the flight paths and habitats of birds, from the Victorian Mallee to the forests of South East Asia, to Japan and the south of France. (Publisher’s Description)

Barry Hill grew up in a coastal, Melbourne suburb in Australia, and since childhood has had a fascination with birds. He writes, “The whole experience of heading west on foot, out across those paddocks miles from the built up area, was inseparable from a sense of being as free as the hawks above us. Fragility and wildness—that’s how birds penetrated me as a kid.”  John Wolseley was born in England and spent much of his childhood outdoors among native birds and eventually migrated to Australia where, as he puts it, “birds and their songs followed me in a succession of homes and campsites in the scrub.”

(Taken from the back cover: “When a bird arrives, quite literally, into our space, it constitutes a burning moment in time, one which instantly seems to possess a memorable vibration. Birds have a natural, real presence. It is unqualified. That is their power. At the same time, their presence is constantly mediated by our culture, which sets off other vibrations, including spiritual ones.”)

Winter Sun

by Shi Zhi
translated by Jonathan Stalling
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

By presenting Shi Zhi’s poems in chronological order, Winter Sun allows readers to appreciate the evolution of his poetry from his earliest work to his most recent poems. (Publisher’s Description)

Born as Guo Lusheng in 1948, at the height of the Chinese Civil War, Shi Zhi joined the People’s Liberation Army at the age of twenty-three. Discharged early, he entered into a period of severe depression and spent much of the next three decades living in mental hospitals under harsh conditions. Taking the pen name of Shi Zhi, meaning “index finger,” to evoke the image of people pointing at his back, he continued to write poetry throughout these tumultuous years.

Water the Moon

by Fiona Sze-Lorrainby Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Marick Press Press, 2010.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain was born in Singapore, and grew up in a hybrid of cultures. After receiving a British education, she moved to the States, and graduated from Columbia University and New York University before pursuing a Ph.D. at Paris IV-Sorbonne. She has performed as a zheng concertist worldwide. As one of the editors at Cerise Press, she writes and translates in English, French and Chinese. She lives in both New York City and Paris, France. (Publisher’s information)