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
    Yam Gong
    Translated from the Chinese by James Shea and Dorothy Tse

    208 pages | Bilingual (Chinese/English)

    ISBN 978-1-938890-87-1 (paper)

  • No recommendation of Yam Gong’s poems could be as effective as simply reading one… I’ve never read anything like this!” — Forrest Gander