Meet Eddie Tay

Eddie Tay is the Reviews Editor of Cha and has previously contributed poetry (“Whose Woods These Are”) and reviews to the journal. In the September 2010 issue, we are very delighted to have the opportunity to feature four poems from his third poetry collection, Mental Life of Cities, forthcoming in late 2010 or early 2011. You will like these poems: the play of light and memory in “Night Thoughts”; the merging of book, body, and longing in “White Pages”; the intense and vulnerable revelations of the persona in “Country”; and the haunting meditation on city life in “Cities”.
Bio: Born in Singapore, Eddie Tay is a long time resident of Hong Kong. He is an assistant professor at the Department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he teaches courses on creative writing and poetry.

Meet Robert Raymer

Cha does not normally reprint works (apart from the “Lost Teas” section). So, when we do republish a piece, it has to be very good. The September 2010 issue will feature Robert Raymer‘s short story “On Fridays” from his collection Lovers and Strangers Revisited (MPH 2008), winner of the 2009 The Star-Popular Reader’s Choice Award. The collection has been published three times, originally in Singapore by Heinemann Asia (1993) as Lovers and Strangers. Over a span of 24 years, the 17 stories set in Malaysia have been published 78 times in 11 countries.

The story we are reprinting, “On Fridays”, has a good publishing track record: an early version was published in Singapore in 1989 and last published in 2003 in The Literary Review (US) and Frank (France) as a joint publication. Robert did a blog series on the collection, The Story Behind the Story, starting with the first story, “On Fridays”.

In a new blog post, Robert mentions that “On Fridays” is his 100th published short story. The post begins with the following:

“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!

Bio: Named as one of the “50 Expats You Should Know” in Malaysia by Expatriate Lifestyle (January 2010), Robert Raymer’s short stories have appeared in The Literary Review, Thema, Descant, London Magazine, Going Places, and Silverfish. Lovers and Strangers Revisited (MPH 2008), a collection of 17 short stories set in Malaysia won the 2009 Popular-The Star Readers Choice Awards. Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat’s Life in Malaysia (MPH 2009) is a collection of creative nonfiction about his experiences of living in Malaysia for over twenty years. His blog on writing, interviews, and book reviews can be accessed from his website.

Meet Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Consulting Editor Reid Mitchell will review two poetry collections in the September 2010 issue of Cha: Steven Schroeder’s A Dim Sum of the Day Before and Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s Water the Moon. Apart from Steven’s  “I Can Smell Roads”, we will also publish Fiona’s “A Talk with Mao Tsz-Tung”, a piece from her collection.
Although Fiona regards herself as a Parisian, her poetry occasionally reminds one of her Asian heritage. “A Talk With Mao Tse-Tung”, for example, is such a reminder. Reid describes the poem:

A Swedish journalist recites Mao’s poetry; the Chairman’s presence is unavoidable, even years after his death.

Bio: Author of a book of poetry, Water the Moon (Marick Press, 2010), Fiona Sze-Lorrain writes and translates in English, French and Chinese. A guzheng concertist, she performs worldwide. Her CD, In One Take, is forthcoming this fall. One of the editors at Cerise Press, Sze-Lorrain currently co-directs Vif Éditions, a French publishing house in Paris. Visit her website for more information.

Meet Steven Schroeder

Steven Schroeder, who told us he’s already expecting the first snow in Chicago, has appeared in Cha several times. His poems “Guidebook Says” and “A Water Planet” were published in the first anniversary issue (“Guidebook Says” was also discussed on A Cup of Fine Tea), while his poetry sequence “Shenzhen, Three Times” was featured in Issue 8 of the journal. In the September 2010 issue of Cha, we will be publishing a poem from his collection A Dim Sum of the Day Before: “You Can Smell Roads”. Our Consulting Editor Reid Mitchell, who is reviewing the book for the issue, described the poem:

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.”

Bio: Steven Schroeder is the co-founder, with composer Clarice Assad, of the Virtual Artists Collective (a “virtual” gathering of musicians, poets, and visual artists) that has published five poetry collections each year since it began in 2004. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in After Hours, Concho River Review, the Cresset, Druskininkai Poetic Fall 2005, Macao Closer, Mid-America Poetry Review, Poetry East, Poetry Macao, Rhino, Shichao, Sichuan Literature, Texas Review, TriQuarterly, Wichita Falls Literature & Art Review, and other literary journals. He has published two chapbooks, Theory of Cats and Revolutionary Patience, and five full-length collections, Fallen Prose, The Imperfection of the Eye, Six Stops South (reviewed in Cha), A Dim Sum of the Day Before, and (with Debby Sou Vai Keng) A Guest Giving way Like Ice Melting: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Laozi. He teaches at the University of Chicago in Asian Classics and the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults.

Essays by Children’s Picture Book Authors

Clockwise from the top left:
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.

Meet David William Hill

David William Hill’s “Stone Fruit”, which will be published in the September 2010 issue of Cha, is a beautiful prose poem. Although short, it provides the reader with a powerful sense of time and place. We read it again and again, allowing the protagonist’s memory to linger in our mind, like the hot summer days it describes. David tells us about the story behind the piece :

“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.

Bio: David William Hill was an interviewer and assistant editor for the groundbreaking oral history book, Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives (McSweeney’s, 2008). His fiction has appeared in several journals, including Cimarron Review, Watchword, and Hobart Online, and his story, “Lucky Photo”, is included in the inaugural exhibition of Invisible City Audio Tours in Oakland, CA. He holds an MFA from San Francisco State University and is a co-founding member of The Flat Earth Collective, whose primary focus is to bridge connections, through readings and other endeavours, among diverse writers and artists, far and wide. He has taught writing courses at San Francisco State and The Academy of Art, San Francisco, and he is also a special education teacher. He now lives in Hong Kong.

Meet Elizabeth Weinberg

Elizabeth Weinberg’s beautifully written and observed “The Earth that Stands Before Us” is one of the three short stories featured in the forthcoming issue of Cha. The three-part piece, which is a story of handing on tradition to a younger generation, movingly portrays the sorrow of an old master’s career at an end.
Bio: Elizabeth Weinberg is a native of the Washington, DC area who spent much of her childhood traveling the world. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in anthropology at Williams College in Massachusetts, where she is the editor of two literary magazines, The Williams Literary Review and Monkeys with Typewriters. In 2009, she spent four months living and studying in Bali, Indonesia, where she had the opportunity to apprentice with mask-masker Ida Bagus Anom and write a collection of stories about her experiences. After finishing her degree, she plans to pursue writing fiction full-time.

Meet Alvin Pang

Earlier, we unveiled the beautiful cover of our September 2010 issue here. Apart from “Wall in Namdaemun Market, Seoul”, we will also be publishing four other photographs (three from Singapore and one from China) by Alvin, whose poems were published in the second issue (February 2008) of Cha. When discussing a possible title for this group of pictures, Alvin mentioned “copy.paste” (and later, “copy.paste.cut”), “e pluribus unum” and “sama sama” because ‘the images all seem to have to do with repetition, or an assemblage of similar but not identical units’. In the end, however, we chose “We Belong Together” as the title. Alvin wrote: ‘it evokes the idea of a set/collection/family of units. Call me sentimental!’ Our response was: ‘Don’t you know – Cha is overall quite sentimental ….’
Bio: Alvin Pang is a lifelong image junkie and trafficker, but usually smuggles them through poems. A poet, writer, editor (and occasional photographer) based in Singapore, he has appeared in major festivals, anthologies and media around the world. A Fellow of the University of Iowa International Writing Program (2002), he was Young Artist of the Year (Literature) in 2005, and snagged the Singapore Youth Award (Arts and Culture) in 2007. His latest books include City of Rain (Poems, Ethos Books), and TUMASIK: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (Autumn Hill Books: USA 2009). He’s a Canon loyalist but has recently flirted with iPhonography. He has always needed glasses.

Meet Shirley Lee

‘Potent references’ was the comment guest editor Royston Tester gave to Shirley Lee’s poem “Letter to a Prominent Korean Man And to You”, which will be published in the September 2010 issue of Cha. Royston was right: potent references indeed. Shirley’s poem is a heroic and (unfortunately) timely and necessary assertion of the right of all humans to all of our heritage. She claims Homer and Virgil for Korea, and so probably acknowledges everyone’s right to the Samguk Yusa. (qtd. Reid Mitchell).
Bio: Shirley Lee, composer and recording engineer, is currently reading for a degree in Classics and Persian at Oxford. She has read at Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, and has had her poetry published in various journals and anthologies. She edited “A Visual Collective Biography of the Former Korean ‘Comfort Women’”, published in the summer 2008 issue of the Asia Literary Review.

Meet Rumjhum Biswas

In Rumjhum Biswas’s poem “Bones”, which will be published in the September 2010 issue of Cha, the persona tells us about her mother’s small bones — ‘still warm and sticky / from [her] smoldering pyre’. This is, then, a poem about death, or the aftermath of death, and yet the language in the piece is calm, controlled and precise: every word is heavy, as if the words are small bones, each carefully picked. In the final stanzas, the persona says she ‘made sure’ that the pot containing her mother’s bones ‘sank deep’ and ‘receded far into the waters’. Did the persona want to protect the earthly remains of her mother, which were never intended for anyone to see? Did the wish to have the parent’s remnants far away from her suggest some concealed parent-child tension? Or, is ‘the waters’ a metaphor for the persona’s emotion? The waters, however calm on the surface, hide violent turbulence beneath.

:::: Also read Bob Bradshaw’s analysis of the poem here.:::::

Bio: Rumjhum Biswas has been published in India and abroad in both online and print journals and anthologies. She has won prizes in poetry contests in India and one of her poems was long listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2006, while “March” was commended in the Writelinks’ Spring Fever Competition, 2008. Also, her story “Ahalya’s Valhalla” was among Story South’s Million Writers’ notable stories of 2007. Biswas was a participating poet in the 2008 Prakriti Foundation Poetry Festival in Chennai and a featured poet during the Poetry Slam organized jointly by the US Consul General, Chennai and The Prakriti Foundation in December 2009. She continues to write full time and blogs mainly here.

Jennifer Wong’s poetry collection is longlisted for the Proverse Prize 2010

Congratulations to Cha contributor Jennifer Wong; her poetry collection is longlisted for the Proverse Prize 2010. More information about the prize here.
Jennifer’s poem “Companions” was published in the first anniversary issue of Cha and nominated for inclusion in Best of the Net 2009. Her review of three poetry collections (Leung Ping Kwan’s Shifting Borders, Christopher (Kit) Kelen’s To the Single Man’s Hut: Poems and Pictures, and Song Zijiang’s Wiping the Dim Sky) is forthcoming in the September 2010 issue of the journal.
Good luck, Jenny!

Meet Mary Lee

Cha is a big fan of Mary Lee. We have previously published her photography three times: “Tibet” in Issue 1, “Teipei” in Issue 2 and “Japan” in Issue 4. Recently, Mary directed an important and meaningful Hong Kong photobook project titled 80± ─ post-80s in the eyes of post-80s (more information below) and we are very pleased to say that we will publish four portraits from it, all taken by Mary, in the September 2010 issue.
Mary on the conception of the project:

To me, post-80s is only the response of a generation towards an era. Now we are young and brave, so post-80s implies youth that is intimidating, while youth itself is fearless. The only thing I fear is that I should lose this bravery some day.

It took me two years to finish Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. In the course of our growing up, we have gradually come to the knowledge that nothing is permanent. Objects fall apart and vanish, people age and die. And so we thought we would hold on to our memories. Yet upon finishing those 7 books, I suddenly realize, not without shock, that Proust’s search of lost time is nothing about the glorification of memory, but the total unreliability of memory. The moment you think you have remembered, that memory has changed, and lost forever.

And so we take photos, in order to fight forgetting. When we begin to forget, we can still rediscover what we have once seen, how much we have loved.
More about the photobook:

a photobook project by Mary Lee

Just some portraits of those who grew up in the 1980s. The term ‘Post-80s’ has been talked of too much, excessively, so much so that it has become a proper noun, signifying a few descriptions and even criticisms against young people born in the 80s. At once complicated, conspiratorial, critical, superficial, and imposed. Labels have become meaningless symbols. And so now we would speak for ourselves, not with text but with images, post-80s in the eyes of post-80s.

We grow up in an interesting era. With the advent of digital photography, almost every post-80 has a camera of his/her own. Photo taking is no longer something reserved for festivities, nor is it the privileged activity of the professional photographer. One can take a photo just by clicking at one’s mobile phone. Some of us return to film photography, and toy cameras like LOMO, Polaroid, and even pinhole cameras, have become ever more popular among post-80s. No matter it is self-portraits or portraits of people nearby us, we have become increasingly sensitive towards our own selves and other people, and more eager to shoot ourselves and the world around us from our own perspectives.

This photobook is a collection of portrait works by post-80s in all walks of life. Some of them are photographers and artists, while most have nothing to do with art and creative industries, a few are still in school. There are works taken with a wide range of devices, including digital camera, LOMO, Polaroid, Fuji Mini, pinhole etc. There is no distinction of professional/amateur or good/bad, only an assortment of impressions of the post-80s by the photography-loving post-80s. Works that show a daily Hong Kong context are especially selected to illustrate the relationship between post-80s and the city.

Project coordinator: Mary Lee

Publisher: Lee Wan Ling
Release date: July 2010
Price: HKD 90.00
ISBN: 978-988-19458-1-5

Bio: Mary Lee graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a First Class Honours in English Studies in 2004, after which she attended a MA at Queen Mary University of London deciphering early modern manuscripts in the British Library. Since her return to Hong Kong in 2005, she has been author to a book, administrator of a literary prize, an art gallery assistant, and currently works in a contemporary visual arts library. A Lomographer herself, Lee recently published a photobook project of portraits of the post-80s.

Meet Helle Annette Slutz

Helle Annette Slutz’s poem “Another City Which You Leave” was the first poem accepted for publication in the September 2010 issue of Cha. It begins with a quote from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities:

For those who pass it without entering, the city is one thing; it is another for those who are trapped by it and never leave. There is a city where you arrive for the first time; and there is another city which you leave never to return. Each deserves a different name…

The poem goes on to present poignant and beautifully-crafted snapshots of three Chinese cities: Turfan, Beijing and Shanghai. Pointing her delicate camera at unique aspects of these locales, Helle has made the cities, to which she may or may not return, her own. And we are very grateful for the opportunity to experience these places through her writing.

Bio: Helle Annette Slutz was born and raised in the United States and has lived in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Gambier Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Bloomington, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; and Cork, Ireland, and she currently lives in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 2009, with high honors in English and an emphasis on creative writing. Slutz loves to travel, meet people from around the world, and share languages, cultures, and food. She has published poems in Persimmons, a Kenyon College literary magazine, as well as in Sweet: a Literary Confection.

Meet Inara Cedrins and Peters Bruveris

Inara Cedrins edited the Chinese Feature for Drunken Boat in 2006 and her poems “Wintering” and “Towards Borders” were published in the February 2009 issue of Cha. In the September 2010 issue, we are offered the opportunity to publish Inara’s translation of a sequence of poems titled “Notes from Travels in China, I” by the Latvian poet Peters Bruveris. In Inara’s words:

Peters Bruveris is considered the best poet in Latvia today: his work has a breadth of experience, global scope, backed by his studies of and translations from Latin, Turkish, Azerbaijani, the Crimean Tatar language, Lithuanian, Russian, Germany, and Prussian. Yet he can find significance in and relate to universality the most minute happenstance, a slight sound heard, the leaping of a grasshopper; and also gives us a taste of what life is like in the fairly grim Baltic countries – the wintry, remote countryside of Latvia, the miracle of spring. A frequent concern of his is Ars poetica, the perceptions of the artist.

We found the imagery in “Notes from Travels in China, I” compelling and haunting; we were particularly impressed by the poem’s daoist landscape and the poet’s deeper intention: a journey, personal and aesthetic, of erasure. The sequence begins: ‘for a boat with an awning / I traded an official’s position // now I possess a fishing pole’ ….
Bio: Inara Cedrins is an artist, writer and translator who went to China to learn to paint in Chinese ink on silk in 1998, and remained five years teaching English at universities there, using poetry as a vehicle. She then studied thangka painting and taught in Nepal, and lived in Riga, teaching Creative Writing at the University of Latvia in 2005. Her anthology of contemporary Latvian poetry written while Latvia was under Soviet occupation was published by the University of Iowa Press, and she is working on a new Baltic anthology. Upon returning to America she lived in the Albuquerque/anta Fe area; currently she has an artists’ residency at the Merchandise Mart through the Chicago Artists Coalition.

Bio: Pēters Brūveris was born in Riga in 1957, and after graduating from the Department of Art and Culture at the Latvian State Conservatory worked as a literary consultant to the newspaper Latvian Youth and as the director of the literary department of the newspaper Art and Literature. Eight collections of his poetry have been published: Black Thrush, Red Cherries (1987), Amber Skulls (1991), Sitting On A Park Bench (1994), Black Bird’s Nest in the Heart (1995), Flowers for Losers! (1999), Love Me God (2000), The Landscape of Language (2004), and Behind Glass (2006). He has also written four books for children, librettos and song lyrics as well as texts for animation films; he wrote the song lyrics for a production of The Good Soldier Shveyk at the Daile Theater in 1998, and the script for the animated film Unusual Rigans in 2001. In collaboration with musician Aigars Voitišķis, Brūveris recorded an album, Glass Boats, in 2009. He has been involved in the ambient music and environmental science project Nature’s Concert Hall. With poet Uldis Bērziņš, he translated and edited a collection of Turkish poetry titled Courtyards Filled with Pigeons (1988), and he has translated the works of Lithuanian poets Kornelijs Platelis, Sigits Gedas, Henriks Raudausks, Toms Venclova, as well as many others, translating poetry and prose from Azerbaijani, the Crimean Tatar language, Russian, Germany, and Prussian. His poetry has been published in Lithuanian, Russian, Swedish, German, Slovenian, Ukrainian and English translation. He has received the Klāvs Elsbergs Award (1987), the Publisher Preses Nams Award in Literature in 2000 and 2001, the Days of Poetry Prize in 2001 and 2005, the Award in Literature from the Baltic Assembly in 2004, the Ojars Vacietis Poetry Prize (2006) and the National Prize for Best Book (2007).

Meet Kim-An Lieberman

“Harvest” and “After Ten Years In America, My Grandmother Decides to Celebrate Tet”, two strong, vivid and memorable poems by Kim-An Lieberman, will be featured in the September 2010 issue of Cha. “Harvest” contains an image of a girl collecting ‘fragments’: beads, buttons, twigs; the persona says: ‘She is not knowing, / just doing. A small thing jealous of the world’. Then the poem presents a surprising twist.
Kim-An was kind enough to tell us more about the inspiration of “After Ten Years In America”, a poem that brings tears to a Cha co-editor’s eyes on every reading. The story below adds to the power of the piece:

Although most of what I write is not direct autobiography, I do tend to start from personal experience. “After Ten Years in America…” began with a childhood memory of my grandmother making dozens of banh chưng–sticky-rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves and layered with mung beans, pork, and fish sauce–to celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year at her house in suburban Seattle. Each cake is pretty hefty and needs to be boiled for almost a full day. When my grandmother discovered that she didn’t have enough room to cook on her stovetop, she built a makeshift cauldron in her basement using a metal garbage can and firewood. Improvisation and all, she won praise for the most authentic-tasting banh chưng in town. This was a huge source of pride for my grandmother, who had left behind almost everything authentically hers when she fled wartime Saigon for the United States in the 1970s. It’s also an important image for me, proof that my grandmother and so many others like her aren’t just victims passively dislocated in the sweep of history. They are resourceful and creative survivors who carry old traditions to their new homes, moving beyond circumstance to remake their lives in meaningful ways.

Bio: Kim-An Lieberman is a writer of Vietnamese and Jewish American descent, born in Rhode Island and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Breaking the Map, her debut collection of poetry, was published in 2008 by Blue Begonia Press. Her work also appears in Prairie Schooner, Threepenny Review, Poets of the American West, and other journals and anthologies. Lieberman has been a featured reader at venues including the Skagit River Poetry Festival, the San Francisco International Poetry Festival, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has spent many years in the classroom, teaching writing and literature at every level from 5th grade through college. Visit Lieberman’s website for more.

Meet Marco Yan

Marco Yan is an important writer for Cha: his short story “Market Guy” appeared in our début edition. We are very delighted to say that his new poem “Remembrance” will be featured in the September 2010 issue. All three editors strongly agreed that the poem is a powerful reflection on memory and romance. And more importantly, one can’t help but being captivated by the beautiful and thoughtful images throughout the piece.
Perhaps it is no longer a secret that we love our returning contributors?
Bio: Marco Yan is a local Hong Konger who writes in English. Having read English and Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong, he still focuses on creative writing. His poems have appeared in Foundling Review, 34th Parallel and other literary magazines. Currently he is working on “Breathing Practice”, a collection of poems related to the meaning of breathing.

Meet Mark Stringer

Do you remember Mark Stringer’s “City Lantern”, which was published in the February 2008 issue of Cha? The photograph was subsequently reprinted in Issue 22 of BluePrintReview, on the editor Dorothee Lang’s request. In the grainy image, the lonely lantern competes with domestic lights; they brighten one part of Hong Kong in a nondescript evening (no, it was not Mid-Autumn Festival). Perhaps, if the lights from the households are members of a light orchestra, the orange lantern is the conductor. We know exactly where Mark took the picture: the rooftop of our erstwhile Sheung Wan apartment.

In the September 2010 issue of Cha, Mark will be presenting us with pictures from his recent trip to Vietnam. Juxtaposed together, these images demonstrate how alike little chicks and women are.

Bio: Mark Stringer was born and raised in Bristol, South West England. He attended Goldsmith’s College, University of London, where he obtained a BA in Primary Education. He promptly left England on a tour of world exploration and discovery. He prefers living and working in places rather than just being a tourist and so far he has lived and worked on four continents. He now makes Hong Kong his home, and has done for the last four years, where he works as a primary school teacher. He continues travelling, hopes to be in Hong Kong for a long time but also hopes one day to visit more than 100 countries. He is on 67 at the moment.

Meet Annie Zaidi

If your lover wants to be so close to you, so close, closer than your skin, how will you respond? Annie Zaidi’s poem “Diaphragm”, which will be published in the September 2010 issue of Cha, explores this topic, and the result is, as our guest editor put it, ‘as taut as breath held’.

Bio: Annie Zaidi is the author of Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales (Non-fiction/Tranquebar 2010) and Crush (Jaico 2006). Some poems have appeared in The Little Magazine, Desilit, First Proof: 2, Pratilipi, Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi) and Mint. Her short fiction appeared in 21 Under 40 (Zubaan 2006), Verve, and The Raleigh Review. Her first play “Name, Place, Animal, Thing” was short-listed for The Hindu MetroPlus Playwright Award, 2009. She has been a journalist for a decade and has written for several newspapers and magazines including Frontline, Tehelka, Mid-Day and Deccan Herald.

Meet Phill Provance

It was love at first read. We will be publishing Phill Provance’s “St. Petersburg Has Many Churches”, which will also appear in Danse Macabre, in the September 2010 issue of Cha. Our guest editor commented, ‘the playfulness of the poem is infectious’. But the poem is not merely a playful (and very skilful) experiment with words; it is also a philosophical mind game. The third stanza, for example, begins: “When you look at a tree in a garden / it is easier if you look at all the things that are not a tree.” Want to read more? Be patient.

Phill’s “What I Said to Her Was Not a Lie”, which is reminiscent of poems by Billy Collins and Pablo Neruda, will be featured in Cha as well. He told us: “[I]t is a very sweet and sincere poem and it needs a home too.” Sweet? Trust us, ‘bittersweet’ is perhaps a more accurate adjective. And you can decide when you read the poem.

Bio: Phill Provance is the executive editor of MediaTier Ltd.’s and author and co-creator of the site’s weekly webcomic. His journalistic, poetic and critical work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Baltimore Sun, InQuest Gamer magazine, Orbis, Arsenic Lobster, The Axe Factory Review, Word Riot, decomP magazinE, Danse Macabre and Heartbreaker Magazine, as well as many others; his first chapbook, The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky,will be available from Cy Gist Press in December 2010 on Cy Gist’s website, at several independent retailers and at select live readings. Alternatively, you can simply visit or stop by his home near Pittsburgh where friends and curiosity seekers are always welcome.

Meet Yip Wai Shan

Photo of Yip © Benny Thong

Fact 1: Yip Wai Shan knows us very well. Fact 2: Her picture (above) is awesome. Fact 3: Her photography sequence “Dry” will appear in the September 2010 Issue of Cha. Fact 4: These images remind Hong Kong-born Cha co-editor of home; and what a salty home it is. Curious? See one of the pictures here. Can you smell the fish? Yum yum.

Bio: Yip Wai Shan is a Hong Kong-based photographer who enjoys discovering the unusuals in the usuals through photography. While discovering, she may forget to walk or talk to people around her and they may regard her as either lunatic or rude. Yip is now a Master of English Studies student in the University of Hong Kong and she sometimes wishes that she can submit photos instead of essays to her teachers.