Adventures in poetry
Letters Home 回家
Date: 27th February 2020
Extent: 72 pp
A Poetry Book Society Wildcard Choice
Letters Home 回家, Jennifer Wong’s remarkable and vivid third collection of poems, unravels the complexities of being between nations, languages and cultures. Travelling across multiple borders of history and place, these poems examine what it means to be returning home, and whether it is a return to a location, a country or to a shared dream or language.
Jennifer Wong has an instinct for intricate, multifaceted poems which, like love-letters from the past to the present, draw the reader into a tender confidence, at once revealing and particular. 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 shape, confine, trouble, and liberate us.
Praise for Letters Home 回家:
“Jennifer Wong's stunning collection, Letters Home, explores the fractures and displacements of the Chinese-British diaspora from the perspective of a young woman. There are poems of homesickness, nostalgia, but also humour, hope and optimism - all depicted in Wong's distinctive, intelligent style. 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
"Jennifer Wong is a poet who interrogates history, able to mix the political with the personal, deftly weaving her own experiences into stories of migration, displacement and longing. Wong’s voice is captivating, compassionate, her poems full of insight, as she questions the complex relationship between culture and identity and what it means to leave a place to become defined by another. This book is to be admired for its scope and ambition. It will leave you feeling moved and informed." - Rebecca Goss
Jennifer Wong was born and grew up in Hong Kong, and is the author of two poetry collections including Goldfish (Chameleon Press 2013). She studied English at Oxford and received an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She is the recipient of the Hong Kong Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) and earned a PhD on the idea of place and identity in Asian diaspora poetry from Oxford Brookes University. Her work, including poems, reviews and translations, have appeared in various journals including The Rialto, Poetry London, Poetry Review, And Other Poems, Oxford Poetry, Stand, North, Wildness, Cha, Wasafiri, Voice & Verse, Warwick Review and others. Her works have won the runner-up prize at the Bi’an Writers Awards and have been long-listed in pamphlet competitions and National Poetry Competition.