Winter 2014

manoa-cover-26_2Islands of Imagination, Volume One: Modern Indonesian Plays presents seven modern plays by some of Indonesia’s most accomplished dramatists. The works, published between 1939 and 2009, have been shaped by such diverse artistic and political influences as Western and indigenous theater traditions, the need to evade government censorship, and the social issues plaguing Indonesian society. The playwrights in this volume are Rita Matu Mona, Armijn Pané, N. Riantiarno, Ratna Sarumpaet, Iwan Simatupang, Luna Vidya, and Putu Wijaya.

An excerpt from The Kitchen by Luna Vidya:

In her sadness and her anger at that time of bloody conflict in Ambon, Ruth’s breads became more evenly textured and soft.

The breads and rolls that she produced while watching the violence on television turned out to be the best she ever made.

But for me, the strawberry jelly-filled rolls seemed to contain large clots of blood.

My stomach turned whenever I saw them come out of the oven.

An excerpt from Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno:

During the day, our problems turn into sweat and evaporate in the sun. At night, beneath a blanket of moonlight, they become more complex and intertwined. And sleep is not a constructive escape, but, rather, a postponement of the burden we must bear. What in fact are our problems, our difficulties, the things that stand in our way? They’re ubiquitous, lurking in every corner, ready to stab us as we go by. It’s no wonder we feel confused and helpless.

Islands of Imagination was published in cooperation with the Lontar Foundation, a non-profit, Jakarta-based organization whose goal is to publish and celebrate Indonesian literature internationally. Islands co-editor John McGlynn is the chair of the board of trustees of The Lontar Foundation.

MANOA 26:2

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Summer 2014

starry islandStarry Island: New Writing from Singapore collects the essays, fiction, and poetry of two dozen contemporary writers from Singapore, a nation uniquely multicultural. Their works range in style from meditative essays to lyric poetry to magical realist fiction.

Photographs in Starry Island are of Singapore’s ultra-modern architecture, along with archival portraits of Peranakan and Chinese families.

Contributors include Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, Kim Cheng Boey, Shelly Bryant, Grace Chua, Dan Ying, Jeffrey Greene, Philip Jeyaretnam, Amanda Lee Koe, Jee Leong Koh, Desmond Kon, Khoo Seok Wan, Karen Kwek, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Julia C. Lin, Nicholas Liu, Jason Erik Lundberg, Christopher Mooney-Singh, Eleanor Neo, Ng Yi-Sheng, O Thiam Chin, Wena Poon, Alfian Sa’at, Jeremy Tiang, Toh Hsien Min, Wang Xinlei, Cyril Wong, Wong Yoon Wah, and Jerrold Yam.

MANOA 26:1

To purchase copies from the MANOA site, please click here.
To purchase subscriptions, please visit the University of Hawai‘i Press ordering page.

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Winter 2013

25-2 front coverBright as an Autumn Moon presents Sanskrit verses composed from the fourth to the twelfth centuries. Translated into contemporary English by American poet Andrew Schelling, they illuminate the ardent worship by lovers of their beloved—both human and divine. Each translation is accompanied by the Sanskrit original, transliteration, glossary, and commentary.

Andrew Schelling has written, edited, or translated twenty books. He studied Sanskrit at U.C. Berkeley and began to translate from its classical poetry tradition around 1978. His first book, Dropping the Bow: Poems of Ancient India, received the Academy of American Poets translation award in 1992, the first time the Academy had honored work done from an Asian language. He has edited The Oxford Anthology of Bhakti Literature and Love and the Turning Seasons: India’s Poetry of Spiritual and Erotic Longing. He teaches at Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado, and Deer Park Institute, in India’s Himalayan foothills.

The art in the volume consists of Deccani miniature paintings from the late eighteenth century from an album (muraqqa‘) compiled in the late nineteenth century, possibly later. The work is included courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Andrew Schelling
Andrew Schelling

Praise for Andrew Schelling’s other work:

The Cane Groves of Narmada River: Erotic Poems from Old India is a brilliant selection of refined, provocative, shivery-lovely poems…What a gem of a book! It’s the best gathering of Indian short poems yet.”—Gary Snyder

“Refined, intense, wise, stirring, immediate, subtle, all the charmed qualities gather in Dropping the Bow: Poems of Ancient India. These translations are precious jewels. Like the erotic moods they investigate, these versions shimmer and startle with a palpable desire to be heard and a mystical sense of impermanence.”—Ann Waldman


MANOA 25:2
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To purchase subscriptions, please visit the University of Hawai‘i Press ordering page.

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Summer 2013

Cascadia is a major collection of contemporary eco-literature featuring many of the most distinguished names in the field: Gary Snyder, Robert Bringhurst, Wade Davis, Hugh Brody, Susan Musgrave, Barry Lopez, Charles Lillard, and Rex Weyler, cofounder of Greenpeace. Included is a powerful contingent of indigenous writers: Chief Dan George, Eden Robinson, Lee Maracle, Richard Van Camp, Richard Wagamese, Chief William Sepass, and Louis Owens. Also in the volume is a solid gathering of poets and essayists: Judith Roche, Theresa Kishkan, Eve Joseph, Jan Zwicky, Mike O’Connor, Red Pine, Robert Rice, John Schreiber, and Maxine Hong Kingston.

Sculptor, poet, and essayist Tom Jay writes about salmon as Cascadian icon and poetic metaphor. Architect Rob Sieniuc, who works in the Yukon with First Nations communities, has an essay on the influence of Chief Dan George on his generation of eco-design builders. Artist Emily Carr is represented by two prose pieces and sketches from her journals of travels among First Nations villages.

In February 2014, coeditors Frank Stewart and Trevor Carolan will make a presentation on the volume at the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. They will be joined by Lee Maracle, Judith Roche, and Rex Weyler.

25-1 cover-final

MANOA’s art editor, Barbara Pope, combined several images for the cover. Back cover: painting of a mask is by Albert Grünwedel, ca. 1894, with field notes by Franz Boas and song text. Front cover: top photograph is of the east side of Mount Rainier and was taken by Sean Bagshaw; middle photograph is of a Salish woman in Kamloops, Canada, 1898, and was taken by Harlan I. Smith; bottom photograph is of Watson Creek, a tributary of the North Umpqua River, on the western slope of the Cascade Range, and was also taken by Bagshaw.

For more information—including AWP conference details and links to webpages on some of the Cascadia contributors—see MANOA on Facebook.

MANOA 25:1

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24-2 frontWinter 2012

The various meanings of freedom are difficult to explain in the discursive language of theory and philosophy. But authors of fiction, poetry, and other narrative forms—using metaphor, parable, and figurative speech—are often at home with what is difficult and too subtle for reason alone.

Residing in countries throughout Asia and North America, the authors in On Freedom help us understand the need for cultural, spiritual, and intellectual freedoms in order to have a life that is fully realized.

Essays in On Freedom are by Japanese writer Mutsuo Takahashi, Tibetan Woeser Tsering, and American Phil Choi. Drama is by American writer Catherine Filloux. Fiction is by Chinese writers A Yi and Zhang Yihe; South Asian Sukrita Paul Kumar; Americans Quan Barry and Andrew Lam; Canadian Susan Musgrave; American Thersa Matsuura, now living in Japan; and Filipino Jose Y. Dalisay Jr. Poetry is by Chinese writer Chen Dongdong; Burmese Khin Aung Aye, Thitsar Ni, and Tin Moe; and Americans W. S. Di Piero, Tess Gallagher, Melissa Kwasny, and Naomi Long.

The art is by well-known photographer Linda Connor.

MANOA 24:2

To purchase copies from the MANOA site, please click here.
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To purchase subscriptions, please visit the University of Hawai‘i Press ordering page.

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Summer 2012

Sky Lanterns brings together innovative work by authors—primarily poets—in mainland China, Taiwan, the United States, and beyond who are engaged in truth-seeking, resistance, and renewal. Appearing in new translations, many of the works are published alongside the original Chinese text. A number of the poets are women, whose work is relatively unknown to English-language readers. Contributors include Amang, Bai Hua, Bei Dao, Chen Yuhong, Duo Yu, Hai Zi, Lan Lan, Karen An-hwei Lee, Li Shangyin, Ling Yu, Pang Pei, Sun Lei, Arthur Sze, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Wei An, Woeser, Yang Lian, Yang Zi, Yi Lu, Barbara Yien, Yinni, Yu Xiang, and Zhang Zao.

Sky Lanterns also features images from the Simple Song series by photographer Luo Dan. Traveling with a portable darkroom in remote, mountainous regions of southern China’s Yunnan Province, Luo Dan uses the laborious nineteenth-century, wet plate collodion process of exposure and development. In exquisite detail, he captures a rural life that has remained intact for centuries.

The front cover features images from the Soul Stealer series by photographers Zeng Han and Yang Changhong. Together they photographed Landplay, a traditional opera staging in villages in rural Guizhou, southwest China; and Cosplay, a fantasy experience staged by teenagers against the backdrop of the Yangtze River and the fast-developing city of Chongqing. Landplay depicts battle scenes and ancient spirits from Chinese history. Cosplay depicts imaginary characters, mostly from Japanese manga. Both play types draw on an invented world rich in cultural and spiritual themes.


MANOA 24:1

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Winter 2011

Each of the stories, poems, and essays in Almost Heaven is about the appearance of a divine moment or presence—which may take many forms and names. One such presence is depicted here in the play Damien, by Aldyth Morris, based on the Belgian priest who cared for victims of leprosy on the island of Moloka‘i. Some measures of goodness are large and celebrated, as in the lives of saints such as Father Damien. Some occur in the seemingly modest works of people who choose to regard those around them with extraordinary compassion. Sometimes goodness can seem inexplicably courageous and even miraculous.

The authors in Almost Heaven—who write from diverse traditions and viewpoints—include Chester Aaron, Alai, Nick Bozanic, Sur Das, W. S. Di Piero, Brian Doyle, Thomas Farber, Gene Frumkin, Eduardo Galeano, Forrest Gander, James D. Houston, Barry Lopez, Patrick Madden, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sanat Regmi, Michelle Cruz Skinner, Lisa Erb Stewart, and John Zuern.

Also included are extraordinary images reproduced from glass-plate negatives made at Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, in the early twentieth century, from the collection of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts United States Province.

MANOA 23:2

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Summer 2011

We are very happy to announce the summer 2011 issue of MANOA: Living Spirit: Literature & Resurgence in Okinawa. A companion volume to Voices from Okinawa (published in 2009), Living Spirit is a collection of compelling prose and poetry representative of the Okinawan renaissance that began in the 1960s. Katsunori Yamazato, who worked with us on Voices, again serves as guest editor.

For more information on our Okinawa issues and related news, please click here to visit our Okinawa blog.

MANOA 23:1

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Winter 2010
The winter edition of MANOA is entitled Wild Hearts: Literature, Ecology, and Inclusion, and features writing from Japan, China, South Asia, Australia, and North America, including pieces translated especially for MANOA.

Among the contributions are fiction by Barry Lopez, Leo Litwak, and Andrew Lam; a performance piece by South Asian playwright Manjula Padmanabhan; journal entries by Donald Richie, the preeminent American expert on Japanese cinema (and longtime expatriate); poetry by Yang Zi, of the PRC, and Arthur Sze, of New Mexico; translations of bhakti poetry by Andrew Schelling; an interview with Aaron Woolfolk, director and writer of The Harimaya Bridge, by Honolulu artist Calvin Collins; and four natural history essays by Robert Bringhurst, Thom van Dooren, Deborah Bird Rose, and Anna Tsing.

An essay about the late avant-garde poet Ryuichi Tamura (1923–1998) written by poet Kazuko Shiraishi—and translated for Wild Hearts by poet Yumiko Tsumura—immerses readers in the life and thought of Tamura. Originally published in a collection called Landscape of Poetry: Portraits of the Poets, Shiraishi’s essay helps us understand the mind and soul of Tamura from the perspective of an equally accomplished fellow writer:

You can approach Ryuichi Tamura’s poetry from many angles, like a fisherman scanning the sea for a place to drop his line . . . before you discuss his poems, you must take his words into your mouth, taste each of them—and have the ability to savor the pleasure and the pain in them.

Your five senses must be fully alive. If you try to discuss his poetry only with intellectual concepts, without the ability to gather them in with your senses, Ryuichi Tamura’s poems will slip from the palms of your hands and fly away like wisps of gray hair.

Manjula Padmanabhan’s performance piece, Hidden Fires and Other Monologues, attempts to render the senselessness and absurdity of human violence and destruction, but ends on a hopeful note—an invocation:

In the names of ourselves, in the powers invested in us as citizens of a free nation, I make this invocation. In the names of those who have already died, I make this invocation.…
Let us be done with violence. Let those who have indulged in violence be named and punished. Let those who have died in violence be named and remembered.

Wild Hearts also features Japanese woodblock prints by artists of the Edo period (1615–1865) and Meiji era (1868–1912), courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The prints depict elaborate tattoos seen on mythical and historical heroes, kabuki theatre actors, samurai, a bandit, and a courtesan and her lover. The works included are by master artists Kitagawa Utamaro, Toyota Hokkei, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Utagawa Kunisada, and Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Additional artwork is by Nick Edards, Lip Kee, Minakata Kumagusu, and Jacob Lange.

MANOA 22:2

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Summer 2010
The summer issue of MANOA features the verse play Andha Yug, written in Hindi by renowned novelist, poet, and playwright Dharamvir Bharati and translated into English by Alok Bhalla. The translation was originally published in hardcover by Oxford University Press, New Delhi, in 2005, and has been difficult to obtain in North America.

One of the most significant plays of post-Independence India, Bharati’s Andha Yug takes place on the last day of the Great Mahabharata War. The once-beautiful city of Hastinapur is burning, the battlefield beyond the walls is piled with corpses, and the few survivors huddle together in grief and rage, blaming the destruction on their adversaries, divine capriciousness—anyone or anything except their own moral choices. Andha Yug explores our capacity for moral action, reconciliation, and goodness in times of atrocity and reveals what happens when individuals succumb to the cruelty and cynicism of a blind, dispirited age.

Hindi writer Dharamvir Bharati (1926–1997) was one of India’s best loved and most honored writers of the twentieth century. His novels Gunahon Ka Devata (The God of Sins) and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (The Seventh Horse of the Son) are classics of Hindi literature. A prolific writer of poems, essays, and plays, he was awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav, the Vyas Samman for Literature, and the Padma Shri for Literature and Education, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.

Alok Bhalla has been Visiting Professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad; and Hebrew University, Jerusalem. An eminent scholar and member of the executive council of the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Institute of Advanced Study), he has authored, edited, or translated more than twenty books, including works by prominent Pakistani and Indian authors.

Recently, he was interviewed by Jay Fidell, of ThinkTech Hawaii, for the series Asia in Review. Bhalla spoke on the topic of understanding politics through literature.

Says MANOA editor Frank Stewart, “Bhalla has done for Bharati what the great English translators of recent years—Lattimore, Fitzgerald, and Fagles—accomplished for Homer’s Greek epics: a rendering in measured yet forceful English poetry of the ecstatic temptation of both good and evil, and the sacred ground between them.”

I suddenly understood
as if in a flash of revelation
that when a man
surrenders his selfhood
and challenges history
he can change the course
of the stars.

The lines of fate
are not carved in stone.
They can be drawn and redrawn
at every moment of time
by the will of man.

—excerpt from Andha Yug

MANOA’s new paperback edition includes color images of folios from the 1598 Mughal manuscript Razmnama (Book of War), a Persian translation of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. To the left is a thumbnail of the Andha Yug cover, created for MANOA by Barbara Pope Book Design. The image is Karna Slays the Kaikeya Prince Vishoka, a painting ascribed to Khemana. Housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia, the 1598 Razmnama manuscript was commissioned by Emperor Akbar, considered the greatest of the Mughal rulers.

The images in Andha Yug are reprinted by permission of the Free Library and are accompanied by an essay by Yael Rice, a Philadelphia Museum of Art curator.

MANOA 22:1

To purchase individual copies, please click here.
To purchase subscriptions, please visit the University of Hawai‘i Press ordering page.

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