Selected as the featured book for the 2022 One City One Book Hong Kong
Hong Kong poet Yam Gong blends philosophy and everyday concerns in this debut collection in English, as he observes local life, family, aging, labor, and contemporary politics. The self-taught poet has worked as a laborer since adolescence and produced many of his poems during his work breaks. Using shifting tonal registers, he refashions borrowed language, including English song lyrics, Cantonese wordplay, Chinese folk stories and poems, news reports, prayers, and slang. Born in 1949, Yam Gong (pen name of Lau Yee-ching) is widely respected in both experimental and traditionalist circles in Hong Kong’s literary community.
Co-translators James Shea and Dorothy Tse both teach at Hong Kong Baptist University. Shea has published two volumes of poetry, and his translations have appeared in numerous publications. Tse is an award-winning Hong Kong writer and the co-founder of the literary journal, Fleur de Lettres. They received a 2020 NEA Literature Translation Fellowship to work on this project.
Moving a Stone
Moving a Stone
Translated from the Chinese by James Shea and Dorothy Tse
208 pages | Bilingual (Chinese/English)
ISBN 978-1-938890-87-1 (paper)
"[Yam Gong's] poems are informed by an impressive range of allusions ranging from Chinese and Greek mythology, European fairytales, theatre, opera, South American fiction and North American folk song. Yet they also remain unpretentious, direct and accessible." — Jennifer Lee Tsai Modern Poetry in Translation
Moving A Stone is the featured book for the 2022 One City One Book Hong Kong, a community reading program in Hong Kong. Click on the link for a video featuring interviews with Yam Gong, translators James Shea and Dorothy Tse, and much more.
"As a celebration of Yam Gong’s work, this volume has something to offer readers of Chinese and English alike. It offers both a carefully curated selection of poems from his two earlier collections as well as previously uncollected material published only in Chinese, and outstanding translations for the poet’s first book-length collection in English." — Mary King Bradley and Matthew Cheng, Cha Asian Journal
"...a vivid array of poems from work written over four decades... Yam Gong’s metaphysical searching, his oblique meaning-making, and his witty, allusive wordplay are all evident..." — Heather Green, Poetry Foundation's "Harriet Books"
“No recommendation of Yam Gong’s poems could be as effective as simply reading one… I’ve never read anything like this!” — Forrest Gander