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.
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.
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.
We are proud to publish an extensive list of Pacific, Asian, and Southeast Asian studies journals. This Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month, explore and enjoy the following free journal content online:
(HONOLULU, Hawai‘i) The University of Hawai‘i Press celebrates the 30th Anniversary for three influential university-based journals—The Contemporary Pacific, Journal of World History, and Mānoa—in collaboration with the Center for Pacific Island Studies, Department of History, and the Department of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
In the past three decades, these journals have attracted a growing, global audience for more than 6,300 articles read in over 170 countries. The Journal of World History served as a pioneer in the field of world history and continues to publish quality peer-reviewed articles and special issues quarterly. Research published in The Contemporary Pacific has shaped an entire field of Pacific Studies and has often demonstrated foresight and long-lasting relevance. Indeed, the journal kicked off its first issue in 1989 with an article on the potential impacts of climate change in the Pacific. Also among the journal’s most cited pieces are features published in its political reviews section which document the local and regional politics of Pacific Islands states. Mānoa brings to light new translations of international literature, highlighting the work of both emerging and established translators and authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates. In 2018 alone, works from the three journals garnered more than one-quarter million downloads.
The journals were founded in 1989 in response to the university president’s call to expand the journals published by UH Press. “Since being awarded the modest, three-year start-up funding, these journals now annually reach tens of thousands of researchers, scholars, students, and the general public,” said Joel Cosseboom, Interim Press Director & Publisher.
ISSN: 1043-898X / E-ISSN: 1527-9464 Published twice a year.
Founding Editorial Team: Robert Kiste, Terence Wesley-Smith, David Hanlon, Brij Lal and Linley Chapman. Awarded Best New Journal (1990) from the Association of American Publishers. The journal editorial office is supported by the Center for Pacific Island Studies.
The journal covers a wide range of disciplines with the aim of providing comprehensive coverage of contemporary developments in the entire Pacific Islands region, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. It features refereed, readable articles that examine social, economic, political, ecological, and cultural topics, along with political reviews, book and media reviews, resource reviews, and a dialogue section with interviews and short essays. Each issue highlights the work of a Pacific Islander artist.
ISSN: 1045-6007 / E-ISSN: 1527-8050
Founding Editor, Jerry Bentley with Imre Bard as Book Review Editor. Awarded Best New Journal (1990) from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. The journal editorial office is supported by the Department of History.
JWH publishes research into historical questions requiring the investigation of evidence on a global, comparative, cross-cultural, or transnational scale. It is devoted to the study of phenomena that transcend the boundaries of single states, regions, or cultures, such as large-scale population movements, long-distance trade, cross-cultural technology transfers, and the transnational spread of ideas. Individual subscription is by membership in the World History Association.
ISSN: 1045-7909 / E-ISSN: 1527-943X Published twice a year.
Founding Editors, Frank Stewart and Robert Shapard. Works in MĀNOA have been cited for excellence by the editors of such anthologies as Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and Pushcart Prize. The journal editorial office is supported by the Department of English.
Mānoa is a unique, award-winning literary journal that includes American and international fiction, poetry, artwork, and essays of current cultural or literary interest. An outstanding feature of each issue is original translations of contemporary work from Asian and Pacific nations, selected for each issue by a special guest editor. Beautifully produced, Mānoa presents traditional alongside contemporary writings from the entire Pacific Rim, one of the world’s most dynamic literary regions.
The University of Hawai‘i Press supports the mission of the university
through the publication of books and journals of exceptional merit. It strives to advance knowledge through the dissemination of scholarship—new information, interpretations, methods of analysis—with a primary focus on Asian, Pacific, Hawaiian, Asian American, and global studies. It also serves the public interest by providing high-quality books and resource materials of educational value on topics related to Hawai‘i’s people, culture, and natural environment. Through its publications, the Press seeks to stimulate public debate and educate both within and outside the classroom.
UH Press is a member of the Association of University Presses and the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association. The Press has also partnered with museums and associations to bring new or out-of-print titles into circulation, and offers publishing services for authors and partnering organizations.
News Release Date: March 19, 2019
Media contact: Pamela Wilson, Journals Manager Pwilson6@hawaii.edu
Becoming Brazil, the newest issue from MĀNOA, brings together prose and poetry by more than two dozen authors, juxtaposing stories of the country’s diverse people in places urban, rural and remote. Depicted in this collection are the machinations of the military in Brasilia during the recent dictatorship; the cultural practices of the caiçara fishermen of Paraty; and the violence that too frequently befalls residents of Brazil’s impoverished favelas.
While Becoming Brazil was in production, a fire destroyed the Brazilian National Museum, destroying countless artifacts in the world’s largest archive of indigenous Brazilian culture and history. For the team at MĀNOA and guest editors Eric M. B. Becker and Noah Perales-Estoesta, “this volume took on added significance … and became a project in which to represent—through the voices of writers—the resilience of the country’s diverse people, its long history, and what Brazil is still becoming.”
The team at MĀNOA has just launched two ways to support the longstanding journal of international writing. Supporters can back the upcoming issue, Becoming Brazil, through Kickstarter and also pledge support for the journal overall through Patreon.
Support Becoming Brazil on Kickstarter
Becoming Brazil: New Fiction, Poetry, and Memoir is the forthcoming title from MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing. The issue includes more than two dozen works by canonical twentieth-century Brazilian writers, innovative contemporary authors, and new voices, many of them in translation for the first time.
Authors include Conceição Evaristo, Marcílio França Castro, Milton Hatoum, José Luiz Passos, and João Guimarães Rosa. Becoming Brazil also features images by celebrated photographers Sebastião Salgado and Marcio Rodrigues. Guest-edited by Eric M. B. Becker (founder of Words without Borders) and MĀNOA contributing editor Noah Perales-Estoesta, Becoming Brazil will appear in a handsome print edition from the University of Hawai‘i Press, a digital edition through Project MUSE; and an ebook through Amazon.com.
Jidi Majia is a member of the Yi ethnic minority group, one of the fifty-five officially recognized minorities in China and the sixth largest, comprising about nine million people. The subgroup to which Jidi Majia belongs, Nuosu, is the largest. For centuries Nuosu people have held on to their language, culture, and social structure, staving off assimilation by the majority Han.
University of Hawaiʻi Press collects the information that you provide when you register on our site, place an order, subscribe to our newsletter, or fill out a form. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, mailing 0address, phone number or credit card information. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.
Website log files collect information on all requests for pages and files on this website's web servers. Log files do not capture personal information but do capture the user's IP address, which is automatically recognized by our web servers. This information is used to ensure our website is operating properly, to uncover or investigate any errors, and is deleted within 72 hours.
University of Hawaiʻi Press will make no attempt to track or identify individual users, except where there is a reasonable suspicion that unauthorized access to systems is being attempted. In the case of all users, we reserve the right to attempt to identify and track any individual who is reasonably suspected of trying to gain unauthorized access to computer systems or resources operating as part of our web services.
As a condition of use of this site, all users must give permission for University of Hawaiʻi Press to use its access logs to attempt to track users who are reasonably suspected of gaining, or attempting to gain, unauthorized access.
WHAT DO WE USE YOUR INFORMATION FOR?
Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:
To process transactions
Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. Order information will be retained for six months to allow us to research if there is a problem with an order. If you wish to receive a copy of this data or request its deletion prior to six months contact Cindy Yen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature
Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the service requested. Your information will only be kept until the survey, contest, or other feature ends. If you wish to receive a copy of this data or request its deletion prior completion, contact email@example.com.
To send periodic emails
The email address you provide for order processing, may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order, in addition to receiving occasional company news, updates, related product or service information, etc.
Note: We keep your email information on file if you opt into our email newsletter. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.
To send catalogs and other marketing material
The physical address you provide by filling out our contact form and requesting a catalog or joining our physical mailing list may be used to send you information and updates on the Press. We keep your address information on file if you opt into receiving our catalogs. You may opt out of this at any time by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW DO WE PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION?
We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information.
We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.
Some services on this website require us to collect personal information from you. To comply with Data Protection Regulations, we have a duty to tell you how we store the information we collect and how it is used. Any information you do submit will be stored securely and will never be passed on or sold to any third party.
You should be aware, however, that access to web pages will generally create log entries in the systems of your ISP or network service provider. These entities may be in a position to identify the client computer equipment used to access a page. Such monitoring would be done by the provider of network services and is beyond the responsibility or control of University of Hawaiʻi Press.
Yes. Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer’s hard drive through your web browser (if you click to allow cookies to be set) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information.
DO WE DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION TO OUTSIDE PARTIES?
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer your personally identifiable information to third parties other than to those trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your personally identifiable information to those persons to whom disclosure is required to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others’ rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.
CALIFORNIA ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT COMPLIANCE
Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.
We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.
This policy is effective as of May 25th, 2018.
University of Hawaiʻi Press
2840 Kolowalu Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Ph (808) 956-8255, Toll-free: 1-(888)-UH-PRESS
Fax (800) 650-7811