回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020)
In 回家 Letters Home, one returns to the complexities of being between nations, languages and cultures. Intersecting multiple borders of history and place, these poems examine what it means to return home, and whether it is a return to a location, a country or to a shared dream or language.
From the story of an ice-lantern, a derelict village school in Guizhou to the graffiti and tear gas in Hong Kong’s streets, these poems reveal postcards of memories etched into skin, the fragments of different cultural, historical and linguistic worlds. In writing their way home, these poems navigate the expectations and beliefs which continue to shape, confine, trouble, and liberate us.
“What marks the collection out for me is it’s a rumination on language, as both a central facet of and metaphor for displacement – and the determination of the speaker of the poems to navigate and negotiate a life divided across time and space. This is a remarkable collection, which makes a new and bold contribution to the genre of diaspora literature.” – Hannah Lowe
“This book is to be admired for its scope and ambition. It will leave you feeling moved and informed.” – Rebecca Goss
‘Letters Home explores similar sentiments, a state of being which unpacks an array of intertwined worlds through carefully positioned language, family and a series of cultural relationships. The poems contain an unwavering sense of wanting to feel affiliated with a perceived homeland, yet one understood as being distant and unavailable – the often-compromised identities which result after a history of colonialism and forced migration have been experienced.’ (Review by Anthony Anaxagorou, PBS Spring Bulletin 2020)
‘Wong’s strengths: a turn to hermetic ways of knowing and the collapse of linear time in favour of a linear temporality guided by memory in relation to objects.’ (Review by Lucy Mercer, Poetry Review, Spring 2020 issue. Buy a copy here)
‘Wong’s poems radiate a raw honest beauty.’ (Review by Kavita Jindal, Asian Review of Books. Read here)
‘Letters Home is an accomplished and enlightening collection that resists easy answers to questions of identity, geography, and belonging that affect us all.’ (Review by Heidi Williamson, Poetry School. Read here)
‘Looking at Chinese artists’ works, Wong explores the political and social-cultural obligations laid on a Chinese family…Wong impressively takes full advantage of her multilingualism in Letters Home, which lives up to its name by being committed to her homeland and the Chinese interconnection between home and family.’ (Anthony Huen’s review on Letters Home and Kit Fan’s As Slow As Possible in Hong Kong Review of Books. Read here)
‘For Wong it’s both ‘here’ and ‘back’ and those ideas are intermingled. Taken as a whole this collection is complex and multi-layered, posing questions to which, ultimately, there are no simple answers.’ (Review by D A Prince, London Grip. Read here) (Review by Helen Calcutt, Poetry London. Read here)
‘Wong’s lines are restless, as if searching for a way to settle into their own linguistic landscape.’ (‘What we are missing’ by Theophilus Kwek, Quarterly Review of Singapore. Read here)
Also available via major bookshops in the UK, and designated bookshops* in Hong Kong e.g. *Mount Zero (Tai Ping Shan St), Kubrick (Yaumatei), Tai Yip Art Books (Central)
Soundscape from Letters Home (playlist)