Sunday, 30 March 2014

CHA Issue #23 goes live


http://www.asiancha.com
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The belated Sixth Anniversary Issue of Cha (March 2014) is here. We would like to thank guest editors Arthur Leung (poetry) and Royston Tester (prose) for reading the submissions with us and helping us put together a great edition. We would also like to thank Eddie Tay for another fine selection of book reviews and Daryl Yam for reading the contest poems and writing a commentary on why we chose the poems. The issue includes an editorial by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming titled "Meetings with Remarkable Men and Women".

The following writers/artists have generously allowed us to showcase their work:

Poetry: Reid Mitchell, B.B.P. Hosmillo, Renée M. Schell, Edward Ragg, Bryan Thao Worra, Mingjuan Tan, Reihana Robinson, Amy Uyematsu, Deborah Guzzi, Jenna Le, Ranu Uniyal, Suzanne Hermanoczki, Eileen Chong 
"Void" poetry contest winners: Catherine Edmunds, Richard L. Provencher, Arlene Yandug, Maj Ikle, Hao Guang Tse, Leondrea Tan, Amit Shankar Saha 
Fiction: Mark Crimmins, Sreedhevi Iyer, Peter Phillips, Peabody Winston 
Creative non-fiction: Mary J. Breen, Amanda Faye Lacson, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jyoti Omi Chowdhury
Excerpts: Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Christopher Taylor 
Interviews
: Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, Shaily Sahay
Lost tea: Fehmida Zakeer
Photography & art: Hu Jiamin (cover artist), Johanna Audiffred, Eddie Tay, Jyoti Omi Chowdhury 
Reviews & essays: John Wall Barger, William Noseworthy, Shaily Sahay, Emma Zhang, Bhanumati Mishra, Cecilia Chan, Elen Turner, Vaughan Rapatahana 

Our next issue is due out in late June 2014. We are currently accepting submissions for the September 2014 issue. If you are interested in having your work considered for inclusion in Cha, please read our submission guidelines carefully.

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Reconciliation

A Cha Poetry contest




This contest is run by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. It is for unpublished poems on the theme of "Reconciliation".  

Judges:

  • Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born poet. She is a founding co-editor of Cha
  • Jason Eng Hun Lee has been published in a number of journals and he has been a finalist for numerous international prizes, including the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2012) and the Hong Kong University's Poetry Prize (2010).
Rules:
  • Each poet can submit up to two poems (no more than 80 lines long each).
  • Poems must be previously unpublished. 
  • Entry is free.
Closing date:
  • 15 September 2014
Prizes:
  • First: £50, Second: £30, Third: £15, Highly Commended (up to 5): £10 each. (Payable through Paypal.)
  • All winning poems (including the highly recommended ones) will receive first publication in a special section in the Seventh Anniversary Issue of Cha, due out in November/December 2014.
The prizes were generously donated by an expat reader residing in Hong Kong.
Submission:
  • Submissions should be sent to t@asiancha.com with the subject line "Reconciliation".
  • Poems must be sent in the body of the email.
  • Please also include a short biography of no more than 30 words.
Previous Cha contests:



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Cha "Void" Poetry Contest - winners

Thank you to all the poets who sent work to Cha's "Void" Poetry contest. Judges Daryl Yam and Tammy Ho Lai-Ming have selected the following eight poems as the finalists. Please scroll down to read the poets' biographies and their commentaries on the poems as well as Yam's comments on the winning pieces. All eight poems are published in Issue No. 23 (the belated Sixth Anniversary Issue) of the journal, out in June 2014. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our patron from London, UK who generously donated the cash prizes.

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FIRST PRIZE WINNER £50
"Where the Red Stone Crumbles" by Catherine Edmunds

Catherine Edmunds on "Where the Red Stone Crumbles": The idea for "Where the Red Stone Crumbles" came from a visit with other members of Wear Valley Writers to the archaeological dig at Binchester Roman Fort, a mile or so from where I live. Previous generations had robbed much out—columns used as pit props in the local mine; cut stone and altars used to build walls and even churches. The cow’s skulls at the foot of a doorway remain a mystery—as does the identity of the tiny baby’s skeleton found just outside the walls of the compound. My father was a keen amateur archaeologist, so I grew up fascinated with such ancient remains and the stories behind them. The gaps in our knowledge intrigue and inspire and as a writer, I naturally want to fill them with words; with poems. [Read "Where the Red Stone Crumbles" here.]

Bio: Writer Catherine Edmunds cut-cut-cuts the words until she is left with poems; distillations of story compacted into reflective shapes.


SECOND PRIZE WINNER £30
"A Long, Long Time Ago" by Richard L. Provencher

Richard L. Provencher on "A Long, Long Time Ago": I am a young almost 71 year person, and find my thirst for writing poems stronger than ever. I wish to gobble up everything within sight and give it a voice. As a former Home for Aged Administrator, I adopted 174 moms and dads who became my spiritual mentors. I see through their eyes and feel their hearts and my memories are their lives relived. I become the older lad looking through the window, observing activity within eyesight. The man in the poem becomes that young boy once again, fishing and needing love and attention. He misses those moments in the twilight of his life. [Read "A Long, Long Time Ago here.]

Bio: Richard L. Provencher believes poetry is a global adventure in a land without borders. Everything around him is his canvas.  


THIRD PRIZE WINNER £15
"Going Back to the Island" by Arlene Yandug  

Arlene Yandug on "Going Back to the Island": The poem which is a part of a collection on memory as meaning-making reenacts the ruptures of my remembrance of a beautiful island called Camiguin. Lying off the southern part of the Philippines, this pearl-shaped island is where my grandmother lived and where I spent my childhood summers. Instead of presenting my memory linearly, I let sense impressions and snatches of conversations override the structure of the poem. Through this fragmentedness, I want to effect a kind of circularity that invites readers to read into the poem and fill in the gaps of a story aching for completion in the mind. [Read "Going Back to the Island" here.]

Bio: Arlene Yandug writes poems, paints landscapes, crafts origami and bead accessories.  


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED £10 each

|| "The City Park" by Maj Ikle ||  

Maj Ikle on "The City Park": "The City Park" is a poem about how the green places in cities are not there for the benefit of animals or people really. Many kinds of animals are killed by the mowers that keep the grass from growing and the crows are there to collect the frog limbs or snail entrails. The runners are virtually not even there and dogs are not free to roam or socialise either they must poo as fast as possible to fall in line with someone's work schedule. In London the plane trees are sterile and so "dry" or unable to reproduce themselves and even the sky is pockmarked by planes. This for me were some fragments that served to reveal the 'wired up jaws' the alienation of mother nature. [Read "The City Park" here.]

Bio: Maj Ikle is a dyke writer who now lives in remote rural west Wales as part of a women’s community. http://majikle.blogspot.co.uk 


|| "Drafts" by Hao Guang Tse || 

Hao Guang Tse on "Drafts": "Drafts" was written as a meta-reflection on the difficulty of writing and the hysterics that can accompany any creative endeavour. Like the soldiers in the poem, my words circle around themselves again and again; I've tried to make the first, second and so on lines of each stanza sonically similar to those in previous stanzas. "Drafts" is thus both the wind and the discarded drafts of a piece of work. I guess the bigger question for me would be how these seeming dead ends can be made productive, just as how becoming lost can be a way of finding yourself again, and how voids might still signify. And, of course, I still feel the urge to revise the poem. [Read "Drafts" here.]

Bio: Hao Guang Tse's poetry is in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Prairie Schooner, Softblow and Third Coast. His chapbook is hyperlinkage (Math Paper Press 2013).


|| "Full" by Leondrea Tan ||

Leondrea Tan on "Full": "Full" seeks to present emptiness not as a lack of feeling, but a feeling that, like all others, can overwhelm and take over one's senses. It is minimal, for I believe that excessive language will take away the essence of the poem. This poem presents the difficulty of expression when there is no expressible thoughts left, just a feeling of emptiness. [Read "Full" here.]

Bio: Leondrea Tan is an aspiring writer currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. 


|| "Aphasia" by Amit Shankar Saha || 

Amit Shankar Saha on "Aphasia": My poem "Aphasia" is born out of a personal experience of not being able to pursue formal higher education in the field of Literature during my formative years because of family issues. The trauma of not being able to fulfill my passion due to an extrinsic cause despite having the merit and opportunity for doing so made me withdraw in myself. This created a void or emptiness in my life and a pronounced symptom of it was aphasia or gradual speechlessness. It seemed that as I am not conversing and sharing words with my peer group it is useless to speak if not necessary. Creative writing became the predominant mode of expression for me. This condition became akin to the state of subalternity where the subaltern is not allowed to speak what she wants to speak or the way she wants to speak. Years later when family issues abated, I went back to pursue my passion and I had to reinvent my confidence despite the handicap of the loss of fluency in verbal communication. The poem expresses these sentiments with literary echoes. [Read "Aphasia" here.]

Bio: Amit Shankar Saha is an academic researcher and a creative writer. He has a PhD in English from Calcutta University.  


|| "No More Space for the Pain" by Richard L. Provencher ||

Richard L. Provencher on "No More Space for the Pain": During my early stroke recovery in various hospital beds, I lay immersed within memories which sustained me during critical times. It is true, when the end appears near, one’s past life becomes a beacon of remembrance. I have such a kinship with the outdoors, and spent much time tenting and fishing year round. My father said I might grow into a tree if I was not careful. During my critical moments, outdoor images became living symbols and I thrived in their presence. My ending sounded a little ominous since passing was that close on several occasions. Now I have recovered quite well from my leaking aneurysm. [Read "No More Space for the Pain" here.]

Bio: Richard L. Provencher believes poetry is a global adventure in a land without borders. Everything around him is his canvas.  


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Previous Cha contests:


Friday, 28 March 2014

ASIAN CHA Issue#23 Editorial

Venice, June 2013

..
Meetings with Remarkable Men and Women (Selected) 
The editorial for the Sixth Anniversary Issue of Cha
i.
There was a coffee house not too far from the university library (but far enough to deter most students from taking a pilgrimage). I spent quite a few afternoons there, armed with a book or two. Thinking back, I was good at prolonging the life of a latte. I seldom paid attention to other people, and I enjoyed my anonymity. Still, I stole glances at others: some walked in wearing long black gowns that almost touched the floor; some wore masks like those on display in a Venetian souvenir shop; some carried such big sacks that I wondered if there were murdered bodies inside. I was minding my own business one afternoon, possibly reading a book about medicinal cannibalism, a man who smelt exactly like another man I'd met in Krakow (a distinctive mixture of cooked pork fat, expensive hair mousse and old leather) sat next to me and immediately drew his bulky armchair closer to mine. Despite myself, I became quite shy. He was not handsome, but he was dressed smartly, although I thought the shade of grey of his suit was perhaps too bright for a middle-aged man. There was a red dot—one of those dots you see mushrooming on older people—on one of his cheeks. We sat there, next to one another, for a long while. Then he stood up, patted my head two times and left as abruptly as he sat down. 

ii.
She was a tall, short-haired girl and she wore jeans that were a little too short for her long legs. Her socks—their colour I cannot now recall—were exposed with her every step. There was another girl with us, too, but I remember nothing about her except that she brought our number to three. That afternoon, unchaperoned, we found ourselves first in a playground, then, in a kind of grassland. All of a sudden, someone (not me) took out a small cooking pot, and we started to make soup out of handfuls of unwashed grass. The tall girl also sprinkled some crushed purple and poppy-red petals in the pot, as well as parts of other plants I did not recognise. She did this expertly, in a theatrical fashion, as though mimicking a TV chef. I don't remember how the soup tasted, but, afterwards, when I recounted the incident to an aunt, she said that we had been silly and that we could have been poisoned and that our organs might rot. Before we departed, the tall girl, under a barren tree in a courtyard, said to me in a tone that was neither indifferent nor insincere: “We never know how quickly a plant sprouts.” I realised much later that she was trying to sympathise with me about my height.

iii.
To whom do you fascinatingly belong? he asked, referencing Henry James without naming him. To the highest bidder? he asked again, and I remained silent. A young man whose sideburns were artificially curled, he could have been a bartender or a university student or a writer plotting his third “experimental” novel.

iv
My mother, a woman of virtue, is not someone you would proverbially call “fun-loving.” I thank her dearly for that. For example, when my sisters and I were young, an uncle wanted to give us an old video game before buying a new one. My mother quickly and assertively declined the offer, believing that nothing that didn't get us to read or write or sleep could come to any good. I was only given a fake Barbie when I was hospitalised, aged six or seven, for mouth surgery—my lower lip had become infected after my paternal grandmother had accidentally kicked me from the other end of the sofa while talking on the phone. The lip grew to such a size that speaking became difficult; I now believe that that imposed bout of silence might have been the impetus for my generally quiet disposition. The fake Barbie made me understand at least two things: 1) that dolls are truly boring and 2) that as Barbie didn’t have nipples (I didn't know the word then), mine must be unnatural. On the day of my discharge, I was also given a new red dress, with a flourish of lace around the collar. But my initial elation at the gift was dampened quickly enough: it became obvious that I was only getting my Chinese New Year dress a couple of months early. On the short walk from the hospital to the bus stop, an old and seemingly kind woman was giving out balloons with smiley faces on them to sick children to cheer them up. I had been taught never to accept anything from strangers, and so when the old lady handed me a big blue balloon, I swatted it so hard with my Barbie doll, it burst. The popping sound was loud, and the woman's shocked and injured face—I was ashamed to understand, even then—suggested she thought I was rejecting her, not the balloon, not even the idea of a balloon.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming / Co-editor
Cha
28 March, 2014

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cha - Call for Submissions - Issue #25 (September 2014)

due out in September 2014.
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Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is now calling for submissions for Issue #25, scheduled for publication in September 2014.

Please send in (preferably Asian-themed) poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews, photography & art for consideration. Submission guidelines can be found here. Deadline: 15 June, 2014.

Nicholas Y.B. Wong (poetry) and Rheea Mukherjee (prose) will act as guest editors and read the submissions with the editors. Please contact Reviews Editor Eddie Tay at eddie@asiancha.com if you want to review a book or have a book reviewed in the journal.

We love returning contributors — past contributors are very welcome to send us their new works.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write to any of the Cha staff at editors@asiancha.com.-
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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cha "Reconciliation" Poetry Contest






Reconciliation

A Cha Poetry contest




This contest is run by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. It is for unpublished poems on the theme of "Reconciliation".  

Judges:

  • Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born poet. She is a founding co-editor of Cha
  • Jason Eng Hun Lee has been published in a number of journals and he has been a finalist for numerous international prizes, including the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2012) and the Hong Kong University's Poetry Prize (2010).
Rules:
  • Each poet can submit up to two poems (no more than 80 lines long each).
  • Poems must be previously unpublished. 
  • Entry is free.
Closing date:
  • 15 September 2014
Prizes:
  • First: £50, Second: £30, Third: £15, Highly Commended (up to 5): £10 each. (Payable through Paypal.)
  • All winning poems (including the highly recommended ones) will receive first publication in a special section in the Seventh Anniversary Issue of Cha, due out in November/December 2014.
The prizes were generously donated by an expat reader residing in Hong Kong.
Submission:
  • Submissions should be sent to t@asiancha.com with the subject line "Reconciliation".
  • Poems must be sent in the body of the email.
  • Please also include a short biography of no more than 30 words.
Previous Cha contests:



Friday, 24 January 2014

Cha "Void" Poetry Contest - Shortlist











VOID - SHORTLIST

A Cha Poetry contest


We have now selected the fifteen short-listed poems for Cha's "Void" poetry contest. The finalists will be announced when the March 2014 issue of the journal (the belated Sixth Anniversary Issue) goes live. 
We are currently accepting general submissions for the June 2014 issue. 
  • Amit Shankar Saha, "Aphasia" 
  • Arlene Yandug, "Coming Back to the Island"
  • Ashley Dean, "Mirroring"
  • Astha Gupta, "Chapter One"
  • B.B.P. Hosmillo, "Our Exits Pursued"
  • Catherine Edmunds, "Where the Red Stone Crumbles"
  • Hao Guang, "Drafts"
  • Joshua Burns, "Cinematic Excess"
  • Leonadrea Tan, "Full"
  • Maj Ikle, "The City Park" 
  • Marco Yan, "A Holiday"
  • Richard L. Provencher, "A Long, Long Time Ago"
  • Richard L. Provencher, "No More Space for the Pain"
  • Vinita Agrawal, "The Little Ones" 
  • Zhang Jieqiang, "Showdown"

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The judges:
  • Tammy Ho is a Hong Kong-born poet. She is a founding co-editor of Cha and the marketing director of Fleeting Books
  • Daryl Yam is an aspiring writer of both prose and poetry, studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. He is currently working on his first collection of short stories and poems. You can learn more about him and his previous work here
Prizes:
  • First: £50, Second: £30, Third: £15, Highly Commended (up to 5): £10 each. (Payable through Paypal.)
  • All winning poems (including the highly recommended ones) will receive first publication in a special section in the Sixth Anniversary Issue of Cha, due out in March 2014. 
The prizes were generously donated by a reader from London, UK.
Previous Cha contests:



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