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Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island
May 16, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pmFree
Wild Geese Sorrow is based upon new translations of the mostly anonymous poems carved into the men’s barracks walls at the Angel Island Immigration Station. The first new translation of this wall poetry in 40 years takes readers through the deep anger, sorrow, and loneliness felt by Chinese immigrants detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station between 1910-1940. Sequenced to narrate their experiences, these poems tell of arrival, long detentions, medical exams, political outrage, and for some, eventual deportation.Readers will also learn the nuances of literary translation and about a critical period of American immigrant history, information essential to our contemporary policy debates. These poems are a powerful testament to human resiliency and perseverance everywhere.
Jeffrey Thomas Leong is a poet and writer raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. While earning his MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, he began to translate anew the Chinese wall poems found at Angel Island. For over two decades, he worked as a public health administrator and attorney for San Francisco. He earned his MFA in Writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His writing has focused on the Asian American experience including adoption, multiracial families, and student activism during the 1960s. His poetry and prose have appeared in many publications including Bamboo Ridge, Crab Orchard, Hyphen, Spillway, and other publications. In past lives he has been a singer-songwriter, disc jockey, high school teacher, and open mic host. He lives with his wife and daughter in the East Bay.