- Series: Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts
- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: Bamboo Ridge Pr (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0910043884
- ISBN-13: 978-0910043885
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,585,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Nanjing Massacre: Poems (Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Hawai'i Literature and Arts)
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About the Author
Wing Tek Lum is a Honolulu businessman and poet. His first collection of poetry, EXPOUNDING THE DOUBTFUL POINTS, was published by Bamboo Ridge Press in 1987. With Makoto Ooka, Joseph Stanton, and Jean Yamasaki Toyama, he participated in a collaborative work of linked verse, which was published as What the Kite Thinks by Summer Session, University of Hawai i at M noa in 1994.
Top customer reviews
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Writer obviously did extensive research to have captured historically what the Japanese did in Nanjing.
With extreme virtuosity, Wing Tek Lum weaves together a tapestry of words, using a variety of poetic genres, even haiku-inspired verse, whose concise form makes every single word fraught with meaning. He adopts a multitude of perspectives, looking at the war from the point of view of soldiers ("splattered on my shirt this blood must be another's - I am still alive"), civilians ("my sister escaped, but I was dragged to a brothel") and even a body-clogged river ("bone jungles scattered about my mud bottom").
Of course, the book is about a particular place at a particularly awful time, but it rises above the specific to become a general indictment of humanity at its worst and, very occasionally, also at its best. In one poem, Rapes, Wing Tek Lum explicitly reaches beyond Nanjing 1937 to show that what happened there was repeated in Berlin 1945, Congo 1960, Bosnia 1992 and Rwanda 1994. The Iliad is both about the siege of Troy 3,000 years ago and, at the same time, an almost metaphysical treatment of war. In much the same way, Wing Tek Lum's volume is both about a massacre in China more than 75 years ago, and about genocides at all time and in all places.
Wing Tek writes beautifully and movingly. My dad told me about how he evaded the Japanese in his youth, fleeing from Amoy to Chongqing. He told me about people dying on trains; he and his buddies slept on top of dead bodies, begging for food... He is 91 years old now, and the tragic episodes are still vivid in his mind. Wing Tek Lum's poems accentuated the stories I heard; and his words make them poignant, reminding me of the skulls I saw in the Nanjing Massacre Museum each with a rusting nail falling out.