I came across this interview with Kathleen Fitzpatrick on Nic Sebastian’s blog Very Like A Whale and was intrigued. In July, Kathleen submitted some poems to us on behalf of her husband, W.F. Lantry. Royston, J and I selected “Rainbow Bridge” for publication in Issue #12 of Cha and the work is mentioned in Henry W. Leung’s review of the issue on the Lantern Review blog:
W.F. Lantry’s “Rainbow Bridge” is a kind of translation, deriving from a Song Dynasty scroll painting that, in this case, is evidence of a woven bridge having existed in antiquity. Lantry wonderfully demonstrates the limitations of visual art without language; his poem verb-alizes the painting, not only exalting in the details but animating them and, in the process, expounding instructions to build such a bridge. The attention to detail would be prolix if not for the enjambment and inconsistent rhymes.
That said, we are really happy that Kathleen sent us Bill’s poetry and we look forward to reading more of his works in Cha and in other places.
Henry emphasises, among other things, the Asian-themed poetry (‘Most of the poems in this issue fit the “Asian” label easily enough[.]’) and the translations (‘I laud Cha for being international and diglossic, because the presence—or shadow—of other languages encourages us to confront our own more objectively.’) in the issue as well as our critique column, A Cup of Fine Tea:
If you followed the links to these poems, you’ll know that many are paired with commentary or reviews in the correlating blog, A Cup of Fine Tea, emphasizing the dialogue that small-press literary journals are intended to be.
In the review, works by Annie Zaidi, Clara Hsu, Eddie Tay, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Helle Annette Slutz, Kim-An Lieberman, Marco Yan, Inara Cedrins and Peters Bruveris, Phill Provance, Steven Schroeder and W.F. Lantry are discussed, some very favourably.
The discussion of “Asian-ness” reminded me of Jeff‘s editorial written for the second anniversary issue of Cha (Issue #9), in which he contemplates on the notion of “Asian writing community” in today’s globalised world:
I also had no sense of the diversity of the Asian writing community. When we began, I assumed that Asian writers were those found on the continent, locals, maybe a handful of expats. I have come to realise that this definition was far too narrow—that in a globalised world the idea of Asian writing must be more inclusive and fluid, must encompass the perspectives of writers from the diasporas, travellers to the region, even people with an interest in the continent. Asia it turns out is everywhere. All you have to do is open your doors. How else can one run a Hong-Kong based journal from a house in London?
Admittedly, the passage above does not cover works by ‘foreigners’ that are not in any way thematically relevant to Asia — a concern raised by Henry in his review of Cha. Looking through the journal’s archive, I can say that the prose pieces are all Asian-related while in other categories we have not been as strict. For example, in our selection of poetry, “Asian” is far from the first criteria that we use to judge a piece. Why is that? Henry has drawn our attention to a point that we will certainly be thinking some more. What are people’s thoughts on this?
Thank you, Henry and Lantern Review, for reading Cha so attentively and sharing your thoughts with us!
Also read “Cha A Literary Review Debate”.
If you would like to receive a review copy of The Mental Life of Cities, please also write to Tammy.
A FREE AND SIGNED COPY OF EDDIE TAY’S THE MENTAL LIFE OF CITIES — FOR YOU.
Eddie has very generously agreed to give away ONE SIGNED COPY of The Mental Life of Cities to a Cha reader. To get this special copy, please:
1) Send an email to Tammy Ho [firstname.lastname@example.org] with the subject line “The Mental Life of Cities”.
2) In the body of the email, answer the following question: Cha is which city’s first online English literary journal?
As simple as that! We will randomly choose someone from the pool of people who have written us. Deadline is Sunday 7 November, 2010. The selected reader will receive an email from us on the following day.
CHA is Chinese for tea, and CHA is also a laudable literary Online Journal based in Hong Kong. Read the rest of the post here.
The following writers/artists have generously allowed us to showcase their work:
Poetry: Phill Provance, Kim-An Lieberman, Eddie Tay, Fiona Sze-Lorraine, W.F. Lantry, Peters Bruveris, Inara Cedrins, Annie Zaidi, Steven Schroeder, Helle Annette Slutz, Shirley Lee, Astha Gupta, Marco Yan, Rumjhum Biswas and Clara Hsu
Fiction: Elizabeth Weinberg, David William Hill and Robert Raymer
Photography & art: Alvin Pang (Cover artist), Mark Stringer, Yip Wai Shai and Mary Lee
Essays: Margaret Hui Lian Lim, Emily Lim, Sarah Brennan and Adeline Foo
Reviews: Reid Mitchell, Martin Alexander, Jennifer Wong, Alice Tsay and Flora Mak who review the following books:
Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s Water the Moon, Steven Schroeder’s A Dim Sum of the Day Before, Cyril Wong’s Oneiros, Leung Ping Kwan’s Shifting Borders, Christopher (Kit) Kelen’s To the Single Man’s Hut: Poems and Pictures, Song Zijiang’s Wiping the Dim Sky, Daisy Hasan’s The To-Let House, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (ed.)’s Growing Up Filipino II: More Stories for Young Adults, Jennifer Ching’s A Painted Moment and Patty Ho’s Heart to Heart
We hope you enjoy the new issue.
– Cha in The Hindu http://is.gd/frUAo
I went unaccompanied, so hungry was I for reading material that I had no fear of the ghosts that reputedly haunted this place. My heart did thud though as I unlocked the door. A murky ray filtered through the dirty panes of this one window and lighted grudgingly upon the books piled up against one wall and sliding to the floor in a muddle.
O, wonder! O, brave new world. Miranda could not have been more overcome with amazement and delight.
- Read Tammy Ho’s take on the issue’s cover.
- What did you read as a kid? Leave a comment and tell us your childhood reading experiences.
As for the point of recording my impressions, it would have been to give you an idea of how I think. I figured this was as good a way as any to segue into how “St. Petersburg Has Many Churches” was written because how a poet thinks is just as integral to process in my opinion as technical aspects like style and tradition. But sifting through the tidbits just now I’ve realized everything will strain through the present, which gives me a kind of nauseous feeling as if I am an actor reciting, rather than acting, my part. Anyhow, for the sake of making that hour or so I spent thinking and walking worth something, here is what I can remember from what I wanted to tell you in a purer form:
New York really has the prettiest women. Probably all aspiring actresses. You know, it’s a shame most of them are so pretty but the difference between stardom and 2.5 kids in Brooklyn could be as simple as a few misplaced hairs. I wonder if they realize this. I wonder if it makes them miserable. I wonder how many New Yorkers are miserable. I’m sure I was when I lived here, but then there’s nothing like dating in New York in Winter. That little Russian girl’s glossy red lips and soft cashmere scarf outside the IFC theater in January were simply brilliant. God, I wish I wasn’t putting on so much weight! There are too many McDonald’ses in Pennsylvania, and I don’t exercise nearly enough. Now these girls won’t even look at me. Time was they would at least screw me then leave me for a hedge-fund manager. Funny thing about women in the city: They might think they want poets, but they all secretly, subconsciously want hedge-fund managers. What do I want? A nice piece of ass. Well, maybe. I mean, I want someone to talk to me about words and ideas and imagined things, who will rub my back and make me soup when I have a cold, but will still be a piece of ass. Yes, world, sadly I am another selfish poet (Read: Loser) with a burgeoning waistband. But, world, I am a good boy. I am a nice boy, a smart boy. I just answered wrong when they asked me what I wanted to be after school. I should have chosen “finance” or “gynecology.” I’d have a pretty little thing like one of these here then. But maybe… I mean, I’ve known several finance guys now. Most of them have more money than sense, and after all, I have more balls than cock (apparently). Maybe I should find a patron. Yes, that would work. I mean, people ought to pay me for being me as cool as I am, right? Why should it be any other way? I should directly ask my readers in this essay if they would mind being my patrons. I need approximately $160,000 U.S. dollars. I’ll tell them if they find anything I say in my essay useful to their own enterprises to contact Tammy and Jeff. Yes. ‘Contact Tammy and Jeff, darlings. Send the money express mail. Do it for art. Do it so I can breed with a pretty city girl. I love you gently and forever, Phill.’ Beautiful. Perfect. Now pop a stamp on that shit and throw it in the mailbox…..
Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tistram Shandy, Gentleman, Volume I, Chapter I
The clock’s ‘tick-tock’ I take to be a model of what we call a plot, an organisation which humanises time by giving it a form; and the interval between ‘tock’ and ‘tick’ represents purely successive, disorganised time of the sort we need to humanise. (p. 45).
The clock face in Modern Times approaches six o’clock. Ours approaches one. Any significance?
Mad Hatter talks about Time. In all his insanity he manages to remind us that ‘Time’ and ‘clock’ are two separate entities. ‘Time’ is a being with subjectivity, ‘clock’ is his tool. The ‘T’ and the ‘c’.
‘He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!’
Do you know the author of the poem “The Watchmaker’s Shop”? It has the following lines:
I wonder he doesn’t get tired of the chime
and all the clocks ticking and telling the time;
But there he goes winding lest any should stop,
This queer little man in the watchmaker’s shop.
Or, consider this image in Sunday Times magazine earlier this year:
I wrote in a blog:
Yesterday, we saw this remarkable image in Sunday Times, which is part of a series of photographs by Andrew Moore capturing the tough times in Detroit. The pictures are from the photographer’s book, Detroit Disassembled.
When JZ and I saw this image for the first time, we both immediately thought of Salvador Dalí’s famous “The Persistence of Memory” (1931). In the painting, melting pocket watches are found in a landscape scarcely inhabited by humans. The tick and tock gone for time, although persistent, no longer means anything without a perceiver. Or, to be precise, time as a concept is defunct if there is no one measuring its units.
So many years have passed since my first visit to Cambridge. And the giant Corpus Clock (above) outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, only reminds me of the harshness of time more.
According to a Wired article in January 2009, the Corpus Clock (also know as “The Time Eater Clock”) does ‘un-clocklike’ things such as slowing down, stopping and even running backward (Dr John Taylor, the clock designer, says, “I wanted a clock that could play with you.”). But we all know regardless of the movement of the device, time marches forward, waits for no one. (Listen to the programme “The Physics of Time”.)
The insect on top of the clock, which is called a chronophage, or time-eater, is at first glance scary, but at second glance, pitiable. The creature looks as though it is punished by a higher power to forever ride on time, and yet never able to control it. It looks ghastly. Humans are it.
“On Fridays” from Lovers and Strangers Revisited — my 100th Short Story published! — will be reprinted in Hong Kong-based Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Cha is also providing a link to my blog “On Fridays: The Story Behind the Story” sending the Story Behind the Story blog series international with its first literary magazine connection. “On Fridays” has now been published 13 times!
A Swedish journalist recites Mao’s poetry; the Chairman’s presence is unavoidable, even years after his death.
It is set in a city “growing / unfamiliar fast,” presumably Shenzhen. The newly rich are displacing the traditional dwellers: “Now / oyster fishermen’s huts have given way to tents, and you know they will not be here long.”
Sarah Brennan, Adeline Foo, Margaret Lim and Emily Lim.
In the September 2010 issue of Cha, we will be publishing essays by four children’s picture book authors: Sarah Brennan, Adeline Foo, Emily Lim and Margaret Lim. These essays are curated by our Reviews Editor, Eddie Tay, who is a professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, teaching poetry and children’s literature in the English Department.
“Stone Fruit” is one of several brief stories I’ve written in which the focus is on work, on manual labor. I’m interested in the physical experience of that work, the impact of work on the body, how the work we do can literally shape us. Our bodies conform to the work, especially after so many years. I’m interested in the particular aspects of one kind of work versus another, not simply in the idea that manual labor is difficult, that it wears people down. I want to explore aspects of setting and how that impacts the body’s experience of work. The characters in “Stone Fruit” spend long summer days in the sun, and their bodies, their hands and faces, reveal this in deep tans and deep wrinkles. I have another brief story that is set in a bleach factory. That environment has a very different impact on the bodies of the people who work there. Our work affects our attitudes, our thoughts and behaviors, which in turn affects the stories we tell with words. But our bodies tell stories, too, wordless stories. I’m interested in this paradox of using language to explore these wordless stories, to explore, particularly in relation to its labor, what the body knows, and what it can tell us, if we only pay close enough attention.
:::: Also read Bob Bradshaw’s analysis of the poem here.:::::