Jason S Polley’s Workshop “Beyond Tsismosa and Before Artista”

Written by Jason S Polley.

CWWS_Jason S Polley.jpg

WIMLER Foundation Hong Kong Ltd. was officially registered in 2011 as a non-profit and charitable organisation and its primary objective is to support the capacity building and empowerment of migrant communities regardless of nationalities and to promote cultural diversity in Hong Kong based on mutual respect, solidarity, and shared empowerment among peoples.


This Cha and WIMLER Foundation Hong Kong Ltd. event was part of the Cha Writing Workshop Series, in partnership with the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation and supported by the English Departments at CUHK and HKBU, and it was conducted on Sunday 25 February 2018 at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The workshop was entitled “Beyond Tsismosa and Before Artista: Imagined Letters to Imagined Friends—What I don’t talk about when I talk about my Hong Kong everyday.” It began with the simple premise that we all have secrets, secrets we protect, so as to protect both ourselves and the people we love—and even dislike.

Workshop attendees were asked to write letters or confessions or a diary aimed to ideal readers, in the mode of Anne Frank’s ‘letters’ to the interlocutor Kitty. Following this traumatic purging, this overflow of private emotion, attendees were asked to select their 10 or so favourite lines or parts—‘pearls’—from their ‘letters’. Attendees were then prompted on how to beautify or uglify these pearls, using polyphonic devices of poetry, like synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, and rhythm & rhyme.

Their confessions now ‘disguised,’ attendees were then asked to form groups of three to five and collaborate on making collective group poems based on these poetically transformed ‘pearls’.

The workshop appeared to be transformative. It moved from the personal/secretive, to the poetic/playful, to the collective/interactive. As we rounded out the 90-minute workshop, suggestions about doing the same group activity based on favourite lines (‘pearls’) extracted from books, films, and street signs were well met. All seemed excited to perform similar collective poetic activities with their friends and families.

Cross-posted on Agora,
the blog of the English Department of
Hong Kong Baptist University.

///// The Cha Writing Workshop Series: We plan to hold one to two writing workshops every month, for local school children (all levels), as well as economically and socially disadvantaged groups. If you’d like to suggest an idea, please contact the organisers, Tammy Ho (t@asiancha.com) and/or Eddie Tay (eddie@asiancha.com). Click here to see a list of past and future workshops. And click here to read instructors’ reflections on the workshops. /////

CWWS_Jason S Polley0.JPG

CWWS_Jason S Polley1.JPG

CWWS_Jason S Polley4.JPG

CWWS_Jason S Polley2.JPG

CWWS_Jason S Polley3.JPG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s