Get a signed copy of Out of the Shadows of Angkor, Thursday, March 9, 1-3 p.m.
Putsata Reang, Greg Santos, Sharon May, and Sokunthary Svay will be signing copies of the recent Mānoa volume, Out of the Shadows of Angkor in the Mānoa booth, #309.
Panel: Celebrating Pacific Island Literature, Thursday, March 9, 1:45-3 p.m.
Ballroom 1, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 5
Mānoa journal is sponsored by the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of English. Join two creative writing professors, editor Craig Santos Perez and Kristiana Kahakauwila, along with William Nu‘utupu Giles for a great reading and conversation on Pacific Island literature in this Kundiman panel.
Panel: Cambodian Poetry, Prose, and Translation Today, Friday, March 10, 3:20-4:35 p.m.
Rooms 338-339, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
A two-year subscription additionally includes two new issues, including New CHamoru Literature edited by Craig Santos Perez (Volume 35, Issue 1) and an issue featuring the eco-literature of Southeast Asia (Volume 35, Issue 2).
The new Mānoa issue features a special section on the literature of Burma/Myanmar. In the introduction, “To Write a History,” guest editors Penny Edwards, ko ko thett, and Kenneth Wong begin:
“‘How to write history / in a language / that has no past tense’ asks co-editor ko ko thett in his poetry collection The Burden of Being Burmese. How to publish literature under a military regime with no future tense?
“In Myanmar today, the simplest utterance is punishable as the defamation of the state. A song, a poem, a music video, an elegy are all open invitations to a cowardly regime to pursue their authors with impunity.”
Find literature from Burma/Myanmar, South Asia and more at Project MUSE.
The new issue includes the special section, “Visuality and Materiality in Postwar Japan” guest edited by Álex Bueno and Yasutaka Tsuji, and “Japan in Los Angeles” edited by Rika Hiro. Selections include:
Out of the Shadows of Angkor is a groundbreaking collection of prose, poetry, performance pieces, and visual art that emerges from a thirty-year effort of five guest editors to gather and champion Cambodian literary and cultural works.
In the nearly 400-page MĀNOA volume, this anthology features rare works translated into English for the first time, and has also helped to rescue writing lost during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975–1979). Beautifully designed, Out of the Shadows of Angkor is an outstanding selection of Cambodian writing from the past and present.
Out of the Shadow of Angkor also features the stunning paintings of Theanly Chov from his Surviving series, which capture the future-forward dreams of many Cambodians today.
Guest editors: Sharon May, Christophe Macquet, Trent Walker, Phina So, Rinith Taing
Series editor: Frank Stewart
Editor Q&A: Cambodian Writing Through the Ages
“Cambodian writers have been recording their literary gifts for over a millennium and a half. Yet very little Cambodian literature originally composed in Khmer, Sanskrit, or French is available in English. Our anthology seeks to change that,” say guest editors Trent Walker and Sharon May. In this Q&A, Walker and May tell us how this book came together.
Out of the Shadows of Angkor in Your Classroom
Educators considering teaching from this landmark collection may have students from Cambodia or Southeast Asia and its diasporas, or students in a global literature course. The works in Out of the Shadows of Angkor may either stand alone or be read alongside other works of literature from the region of Southeast Asia.
The University of Hawai‘i Press offers examination copies upon request, as well as complimentary desk copies for educators who order 10 or more copies for their classrooms.
Editors Sharon May and Trent Walker on Out of the Shadows of Angkor, the newest title from Mānoa journal, that publishes this month.
Out of the Shadows of Angkor, the newest title from MĀNOA, emerges from the thirty-year effort of a community seeking to bring together Khmer works of literature. In doing so, they not only translated rare works into English for the first time, but also helped to salvage, reconstruct, and resuscitate parts of books destroyed by the Cambodian Civil War. This issue represents a selection of what has been achieved.
Readers will find in this volume: a comprehensive range of Khmer works over 1400 years; translations of classical texts in ancient script; selections of modern Cambodian poetry, prose, and folk theater; and contemporary writings by Cambodian refugees and children of the diaspora living in countries from Australia to the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This is a companion volume to In the Shadow of Angkor(2004).
Below, guest editors Trent Walker and Sharon May tell us about how this book came together.
University of Hawai‘i Press: What was the inspiration for this issue?
Trent Walker and Sharon May, Editors: Cambodian writers have been recording their literary gifts for over a millennium and a half. Yet very little Cambodian literature originally composed in Khmer, Sanskrit, or French is available in English. Our anthology seeks to change that by joining a plethora of original literary translations of Cambodian texts with works composed in English by members of the global Cambodian diaspora.
UHP: What is the book essentially about?
Editors: Out of the Shadows of Angkor unites the work of 33 different authors across fourteen centuries of Cambodian history. Their poems, short stories, novels, and essays are paired with a range of anonymous texts from the seventh century to the present, including inscriptions, oaths, chants, songs, epics, folk tales, and theater. Nineteen different translators make these works shine in English, offering accessible notes that frame these Cambodian compositions for a wide audience. A special emphasis on twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers, including those across four continents of the diaspora, showcases the present and emerging future of post-Khmer Rouge literature both inside and outside Cambodia.
UHP: Who was involved, and what was the process like of putting it together?
Editors: Sharon May, guest editor of In the Shadow of Angkor, a smaller but path-breaking 2004 anthology of contemporary Cambodian literature published by MĀNOA and University of Hawai‘i Press, brought together a team of four fellow guest editors over the course of over a decade. The guest editors—Phina So, Rinith Taing, Christophe Macquet, and Trent Walker, along with Sharon—have each long been leaders in advocating for Cambodian writers, literature, and publishing. We relied on each other’s strengths and on wide networks of literary friendships in Cambodia and beyond to bring the project to completion.
UHP: Tell us about the title. What’s the story of how you came to this title?
Editors: The title of the first volume, In the Shadows of Angkor,arose when Sharon was brainstorming with her friend Bhavia Wagner; Cambodian literature has long been in the shadows of the great temples and the tragedies of war, at least in the eyes of the West. As a considerably larger, non-overlapping companion volume to that 2004. MĀNOA anthology, Out of the Shadows of Angkor celebrates Cambodian poetry, prose, and performance emerging onto the world stage. Outside of the Khmer diaspora, Anglophone readers are still likely to only know Cambodia for the horrors of the Khmer Rouge or the splendors of Angkor Wat. Our book presents for the first time in English the vast spectrum of Cambodian writing through the ages—by turns joyous and tragic, pithy and elegant, tender and whip-smart.
UHP: What are some highlights of the issue? What should readers not miss?
Editors: The foreword by Vaddey Ratner and a special preface on Cambodian American writers by Sokunthary Svay set the tone for the book. Indradevi’s “In Praise of Sister Queens,” one of the oldest known works by a female author in Southeast Asia, and Brah Rajasambhar’s sixteenth-century poem, “My Soul of Gold,” long thought lost, anchor the classical section. Khun Srun’s “A Small Request” as well as excerpts from his novel The Accused cement his reputation as one of most insightful writers from the 1960s and ‘70s. Extracts from works by Nou Hach, Soth Polin, and Ty Chi Huot showcase the treasures of modern Khmer fiction. Poets ranging from Chey Chap and Pich Tum Kravel in Cambodia to Prince Amrindo Sisowath and Khau Ny Kim in France are also featured. Diasporic voices shine throughout: Maria Hach’s brilliant essay, “An Archive of Haunting,” especially in conversation with pieces by Boreth Ly and Elizabeth Chey, reveals powerful connections linking war, memory, and the arts. In the closing section on performance, the genius of Kong Nay, the country’s most famous living bard, comes to life through an extended interview as well as his bawdy lullaby, “An Elephant Rocks Its Trunk.” Throughout the issue, don’t miss the stunning paintings of Theanly Chov from his Survivingseries, which capture the future-forward dreams of many Cambodians today.
UHP: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
In addition to classical Cambodian literature that has never before been translated into English, this book presents writing that was nearly lost during Cambodia’s civil war, the Khmer Rouge regime, and its aftermath. When Sharon first began work on the previous volume, In the Shadow of Angkor, an American journalist told her, “Cambodians can’t write.” We hope that this new volume, Out of the Shadows of Angkor, shows that they most certainly can, and have done so for centuries with humor, wisdom, beauty, and depth.
Trent Walker is a postdoctoral fellow of the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University and a specialist in the manuscripts and chanting practices of mainland Southeast Asia.
Sharon Mayworked for Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights—living and working in Cambodia while researching the Khmer Rouge regime—and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University.
Introduction by Guest Editors Britney Cooper and Treva B. Lindsey:
Understanding the stories presented in this special issue as simultaneously about violence, resistance, (in)justice, and freedom, we center interrogations and representations of individual and collective Black lives to unearth both the possibilities and potential challenges for those living and fighting in the era of the Movement for Black Lives. In our call for papers, we offered these questions: What does “life” mean in the context of M4BL? What is the fundamental meaning of “lives” when centering those on the margins? Each of these pieces directly and indirectly responds to these questions. As editors, we continually converse about the distinction between Black lives and Black life, while always connecting through our unwavering commitment to both.
Guest Contributor Njoroge Njoroge reflects on this issues dedication on the life and thought of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz known to most of Malcolm X. In reference to the compilation of articles in this issue Njoroge explains:
This cluster of essays is another re-discovery of Malcolm, one that attempts to give context and feeling to the life, world, words, and works of Malcolm. The collection is a modest contribution to the ongoing discussion, reevaluation, and interpretation of the life and political thought of Malcolm X. By examining the man and his times, in light of old wisdom and new scholarship, we can come to a better appreciation of Malcolm, the man and the myth. Each of the authors presents us with different “Malcolms”: He the one we all knew.
Find more research articles and reviews at Project MUSE.
Published twice a year since 1989 by the University of Hawaiʻi Press, Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing has two issues of special interest to readers this month, which has been designated Kalaupapa Month by the Hawaiʻi state government and celebrates two important figures. Father Damien, the Belgian priest who cared for victims of leprosy at Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi, was born on the 3rd, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born on the 15th.
Almost Heaven: On the Human and Divine (winter 2011) presents Aldyth Morris’s play Damien in its entirety, plus a set of images reproduced from glass-plate negatives made at Kalaupapa in the early twentieth century. The images are from the collection of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts United States Province. Morris was a Hawaiʻi playwright who received the Hawaiʻi Award for Literature in 1978 and worked for many years at UH Press.
Tyranny Lessons: International Prose, Poetry, and Performance (summer 2020) features photographs from the 1960s by Danny Lyon from his book Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Lyon was the first photographer of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and was jailed alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Working next to activists such as Julian Bond and Howard Zinn, he captured sit-ins, church bombings, speeches by John Lewis and other leaders, and the arrest and jailing of protestors.
Members of the UH community can view these works for free at Project Muse.
Featured in this Mānoa volume is The Woman Zou, the third in a series of novellas by the distinguished woman writer Zhang Yihe. Born in 1942 in Chongqing, Sichuan, Zhang Yihe was the daughter of Zhang Bojun, a high official in the Chinese Communist Party who was purged in 1957 and labeled a public enemy. By association, Zhang Yihe was convicted of counterrevolutionary activities and sentenced to twenty years in a remote prison camp. After serving ten years, she was released and allowed to return to Beijing in 1979. When she retired in 2001 from teaching at the Chinese National Opera Academy, she began writing her novellas based on the lives of her fellow women prisoners. Her nonfiction books were banned in China and she became an outspoken critic of China’s censorship laws. In 2004, she received the International PEN Award for Independent Chinese Writing. The award committee wrote that
Zhang Yihe’s writing is not only an indictment of the age of darkness, but it is also an affirmation of the indefatigable human dignity and a negation of all attempts to destroy this dignity… Zhang Yihe’s work illustrates the rarely seen courage among contemporary Chinese writers to defend freedom, dignity and historical memories.
The other outstanding writers in this volume are Yi Zhou, whose writing awards include the first prize for novellas and short stories in the Yellow River Literature competition, the Dunhuang Literary Award, and the Lu Xun literary prize, and Zhu Wenying, who is considered one of the leading representatives of post-70s women writers and has received the Annual People’s Literature Prize, among other awards.
The Zither was translated and guest edited by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping.
Elegant, exuberant, and idiosyncratic, Acting My Age is a memoir and meditation by one of America’s most playful and inventive writers.
Acting My Age is the newest volume from MĀNOA. In the words of Mary Mackey (The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams), “in Acting My Age, Thomas Farber gives us an unflinching, luminous, cleverly conceived meditation on his own mortality as well as on the extinction of the coral reefs, snow leopards, dolphins, and, ultimately the human species. Couching his observations in a series of short, interconnected, almost-epigrammatic essays that read like prose poems, Farber creates a narrative style reminiscent of Joyce and Melville: oceanic in depth and all-encompassing in range.”
Below, Thomas Farber shares how this book came together, water friendships, and how he’s faring a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
University of Hawai‘i Press: You describe Acting My Age as an “interim report.” When and where did Acting My Age begin?
Thomas Farber: I’d finished Here and Gone in early 2015. The concluding chapter of its third person nonfiction has “the writer” confronting open heart surgery in seven days. Acting My Age picks up, in the first person, where that left off.
UHP: You sign your author’s note that opens Acting My Age from both Berkeley and Honolulu. Tell us about your relationship to these places.
TF: Born and raised in Boston, I first came to Berkeley in 1964 at age twenty. I’ve been based there most of the time since, albeit with long absences, and have taught at the University of California, Berkeley since the mid-1990s.
I first came to Hawai‘i in 1971, have had long stays every year since, often for half the year. Surfing and Pacific Island post-colonial writing have been two of my persistent interests. I’ve been visiting writer at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa; visiting fellow at the East-West Center; and have traveled extensively in the South Pacific.
UHP: How do you feel Wayne Levin and Geoffrey Fricker’s photography complements your work?
TF: Water friendships! I first saw Wayne’s marvelous ocean photographs when I was dreaming toward the book that became On Water (1994). My collaborations with Wayne include Through A Liquid Mirror, Other Oceans (UH Press), and Akule. As for freshwater, I’d been part of a Geoff Fricker project about the upper Sacramento River. Then in the late 1990s Geoff asked me write text for his haunting photographs of the ruined Hamakuapoko sugar mill.
UHP: As the author of more than 25 books, how does Acting My Age differ from your other work?
TF: A return to first person nonfiction, something I’d not done for many years, it picks up after the impending heart surgery looming at the end of Here and Gone. Acting My Age is, not surprisingly, much concerned with aging and mortality—author seventy-one to seventy-five in the telling—but also speaks from my ongoing love of and fear for the ocean. My dismay with the mess humans can make of things. As for how the stories are told, well, I’ve had a long love affair with words, tried to draw on all I’ve learned in my writing life.
UHP: The revisions for Acting My Age were completed in the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this find you—and your writing—nearly a year later?
TF: Like everyone, I’m much sobered by the pandemic. Too many apprehensions realized.
Meanwhile, no one writes or lives forever. About to turn seventy-seven, clearing books and papers from my garage library, I feel like a surfer in a long lull. Waiting for the next set. Staying very close to home, perforce, has encouraged me to be the kind of reader I was as a child—(re)reading for the deep pleasure of it. No product quite yet in mind. Savoring company I’ve kept. Jim Harrison’s late poems, Dead Man’s Float. J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine. Calvino’s Invisible Cities. These “colleagues” I’ve learned from, have tried to measure up to.
THOMAS FARBER has been a Fulbright Scholar, awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and three times National Endowment fellowships for fiction and creative nonfiction, recipient of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation scholar at Bellagio. His recent books include Here and Gone, The End of My Wits, Brief Nudity, and The Beholder. Former visiting writer at Swarthmore College and the University of Hawai‘i, he teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. www.thomasfarber.org
In Tyranny Lessons, the newest volume from MĀNOA, international writers from two dozen countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas address the challenges of contemporary tyranny as only literary writing can: through the perspective of lived experiences, imagined futures, and personal struggles.
Tyranny Lessons also features the photography of Danny Lyon, the first photographer of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, whose work documented the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Alok Bhalla and Ming Di guest edited this issue alongside MĀNOA editor Frank Stewart, who shares how this issue came together and some of the pieces in the issue.
University of Hawai‘i Press: Tell us how this special issue came together.
MĀNOA: As an international literary publication, MĀNOA tries to engage with the most urgent issues of our time. We have compiled volumes on freedom, unending wars, reconciliation, and, most recently the displacement of people due to climate change, ethnic conflicts, and other causes. Tyranny Lessons grew out of these global concerns.
UHP: Why is this issue important now?
MĀNOA: Literary writing is often about individuals, not statistics or abstract groups. Many millions of people have been displaced around the world, and tens of millions are living under authoritarian governments or in intolerant communities. These numbers blur the fact that they comprise individuals, each of whom struggles, suffers, or is hurt. Good literature helps us live through the experiences of everyday people in difficult circumstances, enlarging our understanding and compassion.
UHP: How do you see this issue being used in the world?
MĀNOA: Writers from nearly two dozen countries contributed to this volume—many from places that Americans seldom hear from: India, Indonesia, Tibet, Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Syria, and others. Their experiences, languages, and viewpoints are diverse. When American readers see them side-by-side in MĀNOA—and when the writers themselves see their work in this international context, across political and national boundaries—lives of others become more immediate, and our feelings of kinship grow larger and more inclusive.
UHP: Walk us through your table of contents: What’s not to miss?
Poem: “Cry Out in Sorrow,” by Lin Zi This poem was written for Li Wenliang (1986–2020), the Wuhan doctor who alerted his colleagues about the coronavirus in December 2019, and died of the disease in February 2020. When punished by the police for “spreading rumors,” he said, “A healthy society should allow more than one voice.” The poem calls for public mourning as a protest against censorship.
Published twice a year since 1989 by the University of Hawai‘i Press, Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing has received two national grants to support its issues. The journal’s editorial offices are in the Department of English of the UH-Mānoa campus, and it is supported by the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature.
Since 2009, ALP has provided $13 million in grant funding to over 175 literary organizations, assisting thousands of writers. Originally founded in 1967, CLMP provides funding and technical assistance to over 400 magazines, presses, Internet publishers, and chapbook and zine publishers.
Mānoa was one of three UH Press journals that celebrated thirty years of publishing in 2019. It has published over sixty issues and featured the work of over a thousand contributors from all over the world. The CLMP and ALP award will support the publication of the journal’s summer 2020 issue, Tyranny Lessons: International Prose, Poetry, and Performance, a collection of writing about ordinary people struggling against the restrictions on lives, movements, and thoughts imposed by intolerant societies, repressive political systems, and failed states.
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