New MĀNOA Anthology Offers Unprecedented Collection of Cambodian Literature

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 

Editors of Out of the Shadows of Angkor. Top row, L to R: Sharon May, Christophe Macquet, Trent Walker Bottom row: Rinith Taing, Phina So, Frank Stewart Photo courtesy of: Trent Walker
Editors of Out of the Shadows of Angkor. Top row, L to R: Sharon May, Christophe Macquet, Trent Walker. Bottom row: Rinith Taing, Phina So, Frank Stewart. Photo courtesy of Trent Walker.

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

Inscription of a "dharma song" Hymn to the Buddhaʻs Feet. The poem is traditionally chanted with complex melodies in Cambodian rituals. Photo courtesy of Trent Walker.
Inscription of a “dharma song” Hymn to the Buddhaʻs Feet. The poem is traditionally chanted with complex melodies in Cambodian rituals. Photo courtesy of Trent Walker.

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. 

Learn more about our Desk and Exam Copy here.

Out of the Shadows of Angkor: Cambodian Poetry
MĀNOA Vol. 33 Issue 2 & Vol. 34 Issue 1 (2022)

Out of the Shadows of Angkor

Read free on Project MUSE:

On Cambodian American Writers

by Sokunthary Svay

A Small Request

by Khun Srun, Christophe Macquet, Sharon May

Subscribe to MĀNOA

All MĀNOA subscribers will receive the issue, Out of the Shadows of Angkor, upon print publication in September 2022 and an additional volume on Burmese literature in Winter 2022. A one-year, individual subscription costs $35.

Order Out of the Shadows of Angkor

Order your copy on Amazon for $25. Shipping begins in September 2022. 

Editor Q&A: Celebrating Cambodian Poetry, Prose, and Performance in New Landmark Anthology

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. 

_________________________________________________________

Editors of Out of the Shadows of Angkor. Top row, L to R: Sharon May, Christophe Macquet, Trent Walker Bottom row: Rinith Taing, Phina So, Frank Stewart  Photo courtesy of: Trent Walker
Editors of Out of the Shadows of Angkor. Top row, L to R: Sharon May, Christophe Macquet, Trent Walker. Bottom row: Rinith Taing, Phina So, Frank Stewart. Photo courtesy of Trent Walker.

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. 

The Accused (1973), an account of imprisonment by Khun Srun, is nearly impossible to find in Cambodia today. An English translation of the excerpt can be found in Out of the Shadows of Angkor.  Photo courtesy of: Sharon May
The Accused (1973), an account of imprisonment by Khun Srun, is nearly impossible to find in Cambodia today. An English-translated excerpt can be found in Out of the Shadows of Angkor. Photo courtesy of Christophe Macquet.

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 Surviving series, which capture the future-forward dreams of many Cambodians today. 

Kong Nay, Cambodia's most famous living bard, playing the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian long-necked lute in his home in 2008.   Photo courtesy of: Sharon May
Kong Nay, Cambodia’s most famous living bard, playing the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian long-necked lute in his home in 2008. Photo courtesy of Sharon May.

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 May worked 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.

Out of the Shadows of Angkor: Cambodian Poetry
MĀNOA Double Issue Vol. 33 Issue 2 and Vol. 34 Issue 1 (2022)

Out of the Shadows of Angkor

Read free on Project MUSE:

On Cambodian American Writers

by Sokunthary Svay

A Small Request

by Khun Srun, Christophe Macquet, Sharon May

Subscribe to MĀNOA

All MĀNOA subscribers will receive the issue, Out of the Shadows of Angkor, upon print publication in September 2022 and an additional volume on Burmese literature in Winter 2022. A one-year, individual subscription costs $35.

Order Out of the Shadows of Angkor

Order your copy on Amazon for $25. Shipping begins in September 2022. 

New Journal Issues: “Contagious Magic” in Japanese Theatre, Logistics of the Natural History Trade, Hawai‘i’s Toxic Plants + More

Recognizing Black History Month with Free Journal Content in February

In recognition of Black History Month, we offer the following journals, articles, and reviews. We invite you to explore and enjoy the following journal content online free through February 2022.

Journals Issues:

cover image 41-4

biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly

Volume 41, Number 4 (Fall 2018)

Special Issue: M4BL and the Critical Matter of Black Lives

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.

Find more research articles and reviews at Project MUSE.

biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly

Volume 36, Issue 3 (Summer 2013)

Special Issue: “He the One We All Knew”

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.

Journal Articles:

biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly

Black Biography in the Service of a Revolution: Martin R. Delany in Afro-American Historiography
By Tunde Adeleke
Volume 17, Number 3, Summer 1994

African American Pioneers in Anthropology (review)
By B. C. Harrison
Volume 23, Number 2, Spring 2000

Biography and the Political Unconscious: Ellison, Toomer, Jameson, and the Politics of Symptomatic Reading
By Barbara Foley
Volume 36, Number 4, Fall 2013

Digression, Slavery, and Failing to Return in the Narrative of the Sufferings of Lewis Clarke
By Michael A. Chaney
Volume 39, Number 4, Fall 2016

Obituarizing Black Maleness, Obituarizing Prince
By Steven W. Thrasher
Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2018

Call My Name: Using Biographical Storytelling to Reconceptualize the History of African Americans at Clemson University
By Rhondda Robinson Thomas
Volume 42, Number 3, Summer 2019

Buddhist-Christian Studies: Official Journal of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies

The Practice of Double Belonging and Afro-Buddhist Identity in Jan Willis’s Dreaming Me
By, Carolyn Medine
Volume 40, 2020

Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom ed. by Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Cheryl Giles, and: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, U.S. Law, and Womanist Theology for Transgender Spiritual Care by Pamela Ayo Yetunde (review)
By Carolyn Jones Medine
Volume 41, 2021

Journal of World History: Official Journal of the World History Association

Coloring Universal History: Robert Benjamin Lewis’s Light and Truth (1843) and William Wells Brown’s The Black Man (1863)
By Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Volume 20, Number 1, March 2009

Jazz and the Evolution of Black American Cosmopolitanism in Interwar Paris
By Rachel Gillett
Volume 21, Number 3, September 2010

“Town of God”: Ota Benga, the Batetela Boys, and the Promise of Black America
By Karen Sotiropoulos
Volume 26, Number 1, March 2015

MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing 

Six Poems from Harlem Shadows
By Claude McKay
Volume 31, Number 2, (2019)

whatdoesfreemean?
By Catherine Filloux
Volume 32, Number 1 (2020)

Passing the Fire
By Wayne Karlin
Volume 32, Number 1 (2020)

I Investigate Lynchings
Walter White
Volume 32, Number 1 (2020)

Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers

The Black Settlers on Saltspring Island, Canada, in the Nineteenth Century
By Charles C. Irby
Volume 36, 1974

January is Kalaupapa Month

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.


Mānoa vol. 23 no. 2 (2011) Almost Heaven

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.


Mānoa vol. 32 no. 1 (2020) Tyranny Lessons

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.


Links:
• Star-Advertiser article on Kalaupapa Month https://www.staradvertiser.com/2022/01/07/hawaii-news/
in-january-kalaupapa-month-hawaiians-reclaim-loved-ones/

• Mānoa website https://manoa.hawaii.edu/manoajournal/
• Almost Heaven https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/25083
• Tyranny Lessons https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/42693

The Zither: A Novella and New Short Stories from China (Mānoa, Vol. 33 Issue 1)

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. 

More News from Mānoa

Manoa MA 32-2 Acting My Age Cover Thomas Farber

“An Office in the Ocean”: An interview with author Thomas Farber at The Hawai‘i Review of Books

Podcast: Michael Ellsberg interviews author Thomas Farber

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project: Leland Cheuk interviews author Thomas Farber

A letter from author Thomas Farber to Mānoa journal

Two Mānoa pieces are included in the new Pushcart anthology, including Xiao Xiao’s “Crime against Grief: Myth of an Age” (translated by Ming Di and Frank Stewart) and Tang Donhong’s essay, “Chairman Mao is Dead!” (translated by Anne Henochowicz). Both are included in the Mānoa volume, Tyranny Lessons.

The Zither: A Novella and New Short Stories from China
MĀNOA Vol. 33 Issue 1 (2021)

Read on Project MUSE:

The Zither

Subscribe to MĀNOA

Like The Zither? MĀNOA publishes two compelling issues annually of international literature. Subscribe here

Celebrating Barry Lopez: Special Print Bundle Sale + Free Digital Special Issue

Barry Lopez passed away on Christmas Day 2020 at age seventy-five. He was celebrated and admired as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and memoir.

Barry was an ardent friend of MĀNOA. In addition to giving MĀNOA stories and essays, he co-edited two important international issues: Maps of Reconciliation: Literature and the Ethical Imagination in 2007, and its companion issue, Gates of Reconciliation, in 2008.

To celebrate Barry’s life and work, we offer 5 print titles for $30 (or $10 each) and also a selection of his work free via the Project MUSE platform.

Special Print Bundle Sale

The 5 MĀNOA titles (pictured, right) featuring Barry Lopez’s work as writer and editor are now available for $30 (or $10 per title) through the end of February 2021.

Buy the Special Print Bundle Now.

Free Digital Special Issue

Read Now: Remembering Barry Lopez (1945-2020): Stories and Essays in MĀNOA

To celebrate his work and in gratitude for his life, friendship, and support, we offer this selection of work by Barry Lopez that appeared in MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing.

These articles will be free on Project MUSE through May 2021.

Introduction: Barry Lopez (1945-2020) (Open Access)

Editors’ Note
Originally published: Volume 19, Number 2, 2007

The Leadership Imperative: An Interview with Oren Lyons
Originally published: Volume 19, Number 2, 2007

¡Nunca Más!
Originally published: Volume 20, Number 1, 2008

Epilogue
Originally published: Volume 20, Number 1, 2008

The Letters of Heaven
Originally published: Volume 23, Number 2, 2011

In the Great Bend of the Souris River
Originally published: Volume 25, Issue 1, 2013

Print Bundle Sale

Titles included in bundle.

9780824832681
Cascadia: The Life and Breath of the World
Almost Heaven: On the Human and Divine
9780824833206
Wild Hearts: Literature

Buy Special Bundle Now

Acting My Age: Thomas Farber’s new book from MĀNOA

Thomas Farber, 2020. Photograph by Andrea Young
Thomas Farber, 2020. Photograph by Andrea Young

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.

Gill net pyramid,   Keauhou Bay, Hawai‘i, 2009. Photograph by Wayne Levin
Gill net pyramid, Keauhou Bay, Hawai‘i, 2009. Photograph by Wayne Levin

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 MirrorOther 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.

Sugar water-cooling system, Pu‘unēnē, Maui, 1997. Photograph by Geoffrey Fricker
Sugar water-cooling system, Pu‘unēnē, Maui, 1997. Photograph by Geoffrey Fricker

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 GoneActing 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

Manoa MA 32-2 Acting My Age Cover Thomas Farber
MĀNOA Vol. 32 Issue 2 (2020)

Read Free on Project MUSE:

Author’s Note

Buy the Volume

Print copy of Acting My Age, $24.99

Subscribe to MĀNOA

Like Acting My Age? MĀNOA publishes two compelling issues annually of international literature. Subscribe here. 

Tyranny Lessons: 60 International Writers on Contemporary Tyranny (MĀNOA Vol. 32 Issue 1)

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?

MĀNOA: Well, there are more than sixty writers in the volume so it’s hard to answer this briefly. There are many excellent writers from the PRC, Hong Kong, and Tibet. Tang Danhong’s “Chairman Mao Is Dead!” is a wonderful, acerbic, and at times funny essay about a time in her childhood when a death in China turned the country, and her life, on its head. Other writers from China recall events in the recent past, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. There are two wonderful allegorical tales by an Indonesian writer, Rio Johan, living in Paris. There are some unexpected pieces, such as an essay by Walter White, who headed the NAACP, on lynching, and some union songs by Joe Hill.

UHP: What was the most challenging thing about creating this issue?

MĀNOA: It was important to us that Tyranny Lessons not have an agenda or or be predictable. We wanted to understand tyranny as a condition that is common in our lives, in ways we don’t think about in that way—and not just government oppression. There’s a moving story in the issue by Ann Pancake, who lives in West Virginia, about a brother whose opioid addiction tyrannizes the well-being of a family. An essay by Thomas Farber comments on the scientific practice of capturing and experimenting on dolphins—surely an example of humans tyrannizing non-humans. And there’s a fine play by Catherine Filloux, “whatdoesfreemean,” concerning incarcerated women of color.

UHP: How does the artwork complement the written content?

MĀNOA: Acclaimed photographer Danny Lyon, the first official photographer of the Civil Rights Movement, gave us a suite of photographs from his book The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality. The images underscore the reality that tyranny is not something that happens only in totalitarian foreign countries. Communal violence and intolerance are present in the U.S. as well. And Americans too have lessons to teach the world about tyranny.

 

Manoa 32-1 Tyranny Lessons

Tyranny Lessons

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Editor’s Note

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.

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MĀNOA Journal Receives Two National Grants

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.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Mānoa an Art Works grant of $10,000 for fiscal year 2020. This grant was one of 1,187 that totaled $27.3 million and supported projects in every state. Art Works grants are given to artistically excellent projects that celebrate American creativity and cultural heritage.

The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), in alliance with the Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP), awarded Mānoa a 2020 Literary Magazine Fund grant of $5,000. ALP launched the Literary Magazine Fund with CLMP in 2019 to help CLMP support the crucial work of literary publishers. Grant applications were reviewed by a panel of judges convened by ALP and CLMP. Final selections were made by ALP and CLMP.

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.

Manoa 32-1 Tyranny Lessons
Forthcoming from Mānoa: Tyranny Lessons (Vol. 32, Issue 1)

Displaced Lives: MĀNOA Vol. 31, No. 2 (2019)

  Four Generations of a Tibetan Family. Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries (007), 2007 Serena Chopra  © courtesy sepiaEYE
Four Generations of a Tibetan Family. Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries (007), 2007 Serena Chopra © courtesy sepiaEYE

The dislocation of people in the twenty-first century has been unprecedented. At the end of 2019, over 260 million people were living outside their countries of birth. Some are voluntary migrants, but others have been forced to relocate by violence, wars, persecution, hunger, or extreme weather events. Millions more are mentally and spiritually uprooted and isolated because of PTSD, depression, addiction, and aging.

The displaced are a statistical category, but their lives, emotions, and hopes are made vividly real in these powerful and intimate works of literature by more than thirty writers from four continents. Many of the authors are themselves exiles, members of immigrant families, or witnesses to the effects of displacement on loved ones. Authors are from Bangladesh, Canada, Cuba, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Macedonia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the U.S.

Alok Bhalla and Ming Di guest edited this new issue of Mānoa featuring fiction, poetry, memoirs and plays, and also Serena Chopra’s photographs from Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries.


Explore Displaced Lives

Editor’s Note

Images

Borderlands
Anna Badkhen

Statue of Liberty
Mario Bojórquez, Don Cellini

The Traveler
José Manuel Cardona, Hélène Cardona

Good Night
Chang Yao, Ming Di, Kerry Shawn Keys

Bhasha India
Siddharth Chowdhury

The Missing
Mangalesh Dabral, Asad Zaidi

Pig
Jose Dalisay

Werewolf
Patrick Deeley

Neve Shalom, September 2014
Batsheva Dori-Carlier, Lisa Katz

Wulkan
Ulrike Draesner, Iain Galbraith

Vanilla Crumble
Asif Farrukhi, Durdana Soomro

turning your body into a compass
Catherine Filloux

Return of the Exiles
Huang Fan, Ming Di, Frank Stewart

In a Silent City
Ilya Kaminsky

The Serpent
Wayne Karlin

The Speculative Fiction Writer
Jee Leong Koh

At Wagah
Sukrita Paul Kumar

Two Poems
Nikola Madzirov, Peggy and Graham W. Reid, Magdalena Horvat

Something Growing
Julia Martin

Fox-Sparrow
James McCorkle

Claude McKay Describes His Own Life
Claude Mckay

Six Poems from Harlem Shadows
Claude McKay

Bread
Mihaela Moscaliuc

Yesterday and Today
Masud Mufti, Durdana Soomro

The Subhuman and His Habitat
Ramsey Nasr, David Colmer

Lament for Mrs. Mones
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Katherine M. Hedeen

The Rehearsal
Manjula Padmanabhan

Big White Bird
Ann Pancake

Dera Baba Nanak
Joginder Paul, Naghma Zafir

Grandmas
Joginder Paul, Asif Farrukhi

Tonghui River in Beijing
Qing Ping, Ming Di, Frank Stewart

Gilt
Chloe Garcia Roberts

Two Poems
Françoise Roy, Amanda Fuller

Self
K. Satchidanandan

Two Poems
Aleš Šteger, Brian Henry

Five Prose Poems
Udayan Vajpeyi, Alok Bhalla

The Souls of Shah Alam Camp
Asghar Wajahat, Alok Bhalla

The White Night Photo Studio
Wang Suxin, Chen Zeping, Karen Gernant

Two Poems
Sholeh Wolpé

The Flower of All Water
Robert Wrigley

Refused a Visa at the U.S. Embassy
Yi Sha, Frank Stewart, Ming Di

About the Photographer

About the Contributors

 

Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges: New Eco-Poetry from China and the United States (MĀNOA 31:1)

Qutang Gorge Entrance II, Daixi, 2003. Photograph by Linda Butler. In June 2003, when the reservoir formed, the confluence of the Daixi tributary and the Yangtze River disappeared beneath the waters, which washed over the feet of the distant mountains. The ruins of Daixi town also vanished.
Qutang Gorge Entrance II, Daixi, 2003. In June 2003, when the reservoir formed, the confluence of the Daixi tributary and the Yangtze River disappeared beneath the waters, which washed over the feet of the distant mountains. The ruins of Daixi town also vanished. Photograph by Linda Butler, this issue.

Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges presents nearly 100 poets and translators from China and the U.S.―the two countries most responsible for global carbon dioxide emissions and the primary contributors to extreme climate change. These poetic voices express the altered relationship that now exists between the human and non-human worlds, a situation in which we witness everyday the ways environmental destruction is harming our emotions and imaginations.

“What can poetry say about our place in the natural world today?” ecologically minded poets ask. “How do we express this new reality in art or sing about it in poetry?” And, as poet Forrest Gander wonders, “how might syntax, line break, or the shape of the poem on the page express an ecological ethics?”

Eco-poetry freely searches for possible answers. Sichuan poet Sun Wenbo writes:

… I feel so liberated I start writing about
the republic of apples and democracy of oranges. When I see
apples have not become tanks, oranges not bombs,
I know I’ve not become a slave of words after all.

The Chinese poets are from throughout the PRC and Taiwan, both minority and majority writers, from big cities and rural provinces, such as Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture and Xinjiang Uyghur, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions. The American poets are both emerging and established, from towns and cities across the U.S.

Included are images by celebrated photographer Linda Butler documenting the Three Gorges Dam, on the Yangtze River, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, on the Mississippi River Basin.