Friday, September 23, 2011

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

An Introduction.
These are two stunning poems by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, the first one was originally featured in Singapore based Writers Connect and was chosen as a personal favourite of the poet. The second was first published in Sotto Voce Magazine, (Issue 1 Fall 2008) and was chosen by me purely on the grounds that I adore it. Although you should check out her site for  a wider representation of how good a writer she is.

I vow never to speak to him again.

If you know what he said to me,
you'll understand:
Words coming out of his fingers,
in the cold darkening night: "I feel nothing
inside", "plaything".

You see, he sharpened
his words, each a blade, ready to kill.
He intensified his skills.

Maybe he's a fisherman, and I his flesh.
He said as much: "I hooked your chin,
and pulled you in". "My most beautiful catch."

Not only chin. Someone's mocked heart was curbed;
it dangled, shivered ever so slightly on display.
Do fish cry? Their tears mistaken for stubborn mist.

These are no lover's rites.
I vow never to open my mouth again.


Our austere old man under the moon
binds lovers' feet
with invisible red cords.
He has no need for wings, bows or arrows.
And he walks slow.

He knows there will be love
when love is seemingly uncalled for.
In his book of single mortals,
each to each,
ask, 'How's your foot?'
'How's your foot?'

Sometimes when he's bored,
he experiments with permutations
of man and woman.
Flipping carelessly through his book,
or ignoring its pages,
he ties loose strands together.

One couple in ten thousand,
feet hobbled,
are dragged to the altar.
Pulling at their bowties and necklaces;
they feel an invisible noose
tightening around their throats,
as our austere old hangman
ties the knot.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong born writer, now based in the UK, where she is working on her PhD thesis on neo-Victorian fiction. (Department of English, King’s College London). She previously studied at the University of Hong Kong obtaining a BA with first class honours and a Master of Philosophy, with a thesis titled "Reading Aloud and Charles Dickens's Style", an exploration of how Dickens's writing style was influenced by the period practice of reading aloud, a practice Dickens was a keen advocate of, whether  publicly or in private. The thesis also discusses the interrelation between literature and linguistics (especially the concept of orality/aurality and iconicity) in prose fiction. Between 2005 – 2008, she worked as a demonstrator at the School of English, the University of Hong Kong, also working as a teacher and helping to organise various literary and academic events for the School of English and the Faculty of Arts, including a three-day international conference Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image (6-8 December 2007) for the Faculty of Arts, HKU. The conference brought together renowned local and overseas scholars who are working on the visual and cultural representations of Hong Kong. She has continued this at King's College London, helping organise events, including a cross-disciplinary discussion series entitled Creative King's (Spring 2009). She is also actively involved in the reading group, The Shows of London Nineteenth-Century Group and as an editor of the AHRC-funded journal, Victorian Network .

She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2008) for her poem "Elegy To A Brother Who Wrote Autobiographical Poems" (first published in Boxcar Poetry Review) and Frostwriting nominated her poem "The Famine" (first published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and reprinted in Frostwriting) for inclusion in Best of the Net Anthology (2009). She edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology( 2006) and co-edited Love & Lust ( 2008), and was a Co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine, she also served as an Assistant Poetry Editor of Sotto Voce Magazine.

She is also the founding co-editor (with Jeff Zroback) of the first Hong Kong based international online English literary journal (and all round fantastic read) Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, an editor of the India-based journal Criterion and a Contributing Photographer to THIS Literary Magazine.

I've been following Tammy (t) for a while on twitter and knew what a fine poet she was, but it’s only since I attempted to piece together this biography that I’ve come to realise how involved in the world of writing/poetry she is, she breathes, bleeds, lives poetry and on the strength of those I’ve read we are better off because of it.

Explore the links and the poetry written within. At the moment there are no books, but that is, I believe, just a matter of time and when it happens I hope she saves a copy for me.

A Conversation with Tammy Ho Lai-Ming(LR)

A Fine Cup Of Tea (The Critical Arm Of Cha:)

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

Cha: Blog


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

This is a poem that featured in Phantom Kangaroo

The girl whose face is in faux porcelain bowls



If you have a Poem/ Poet, you admire please introduce them to me.


Tom Cunliffe said...

Its great to hear of writers you've never heard of before - so I enjoyed reading this article. The first poem really captures the intensity of feelings that can come on someone when they are mortifyingly upset - hopefully a not too frequent experience for most of us.

@parridhlantern said...

Although not yet a published poet, I do enjoy her poetry enough to feature her as an introduction post, I honestly believe she should have a collection, whether a chapbook or something grander because she has a wonderful way with words & her ability to communicate feeling intense or otherwise is not only interest but has its own voice, just check several of the links below for a better idea of her work. said...

The title was powerful all by itself. I was hooked from then on. The second one, Invisible Red Cords, I am wondering what the Red Cords represent???? Binding love perhaps.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I think this would be a fabulous idea for a weekly or bi-weekly meme. Thank you for sharing this poet and some of her work with us.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Lena, that title just shocks you into wanting to find out more, as the the second, it would make sense, I just loved the way the image of Cupid is played with.

Thanks Deb, I'm thinking around several ideas concerning the poetry on this blog & that was one of the ideas, a more regular individual poet post.

Kinna said...

The titles, the strong emotional eloquence... Fantastic poems and this is the first that I'm hearing of this poet. Thanks.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Kinna, Check the links to find a whole lot more great poetry by this person. Just hoping she gets the chance to publish a chapbook/book etc.