selected 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)
Edited by Trevor Carolan
Cheng & Tsui Company, Inc., 2011.
The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia is a collection of contemporary short stories by South Asia’s most renown authors. With writers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this anthology gives readers a glimpse into the complexities of a region so diverse in both landscape and people through the exploration of themes such as social upheaval, gender inequality, economic and spiritual struggle, and challenges to cultural orthodoxy.
In his review, Alan Cheuse describes that while the writers featured in The Lotus Singers are little know in the US, this anthology shows “how a distant part of the world seems so foreign and yet so close to home.” Ira Raja also writes that the collection seems at first “to confirm out expectations of the standard stereotypes associated with South Asia—poverty, caste, and the pressures of the traditional family—[it turns] those expectations around in bold, subtle, and intriguing ways, forcing readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about this place at the crossroads of the world” (quoted from the back cover).
Trevor Carolan was born in Yorkshire but grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia. He received an interdisciplinary PH.D. at Bond University, Australia, and currently teaches English at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver. His current works include Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific and Against The Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, which he co-edited with Richard Olafson.