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For The Record and Other Poems of Hong Kong Paperback – February 22, 2016
Gillian Bickley has the sharp eye and strong stomach of the true realist.. . . brilliantly observed.. . .Take Tobacco is about as close as any poet comes to word-perfect. Not even the American minimalist William Carlos Williams could zero in on and capture a detail with more panache. . . .a thought-provoking and entertaining contribution to Hong Kong literature. Bickley succeeds in conveying the character of the Fragrant Harbour with humorous rigour . . .. --David Wilson, Sunday Morning Post, 21 September 2003.
In For the Record and other Poems of Hong Kong, Gillian Bickley inhabits a world of movement, traffic, construction and buildings but her poetry sees through this to a nature of flying, singing birds and lush green trees existing in harmony or sometimes at odds with modern day Hong Kong. Her work offers a counterpoint of the survival and continuity of nature against which our busy everyday lives are measured.
Bickley's Hong Kong is both a universal and a personal one and like Italo Calvino s book The City she captures a Hong Kong of the mind; the one city that we all share as a physical space against the myriad cities that we experience and perceive distinctly as our own.
Bickley generally writes in free verse except when making a specific point and she uses this style to good effect. In one pithy stanza in the anthropomorphic Old Men s Beards she skillfully fuses the human and the natural world and captures the reverence with which the elderly are supposed to be treated in our society.
Her poignant section on the passing of her father struck a chord. These poems vividly evoked the conflicting emotions that abound during such circumstances. There were uplifting references to the kindness of strangers and the sad reality of a hopeless situation. Anyone who has lost a parent will undoubtedly recognize something of their own experience amongst these pieces.--David McKirdy, Asian Review of Books.
Very familiar with the local ways of doing things, lifestyle and city environment, [Bickley] observes the place from different perspectives -- from that of a poet, a Westerner, a teacher, a daughter, a woman. . . . Bickley's work is fun to read. She is an expatriate, but sometimes with a local perspective.--Cindy Chu, Book Review, Hong Kong Journal of Modern Chinese History, Modern Chinese History Society of Hong Kong, 2004, No. 2. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
GILLIAN BICKLEY is the author of several books on Hong Kong topics, including the well-received short history of early Hong Kong Government education, told through the life of its founder, The Golden Needle: The Biography of Frederick Stewart (1836-1889), first published by the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, in 1997, Hong Kong Invaded! A ’97 Nightmare, a new illustrated edition of the previously long-forgotten 1897 account of the fictional invasion of Hong Kong in the same year, published by the University of Hong Kong Press in 2001, and The Development of Education in Hong Kong 1841-1897 as Revealed by the Early Education Reports of the Hong Kong Government 1848-1896, published by Proverse Hong Kong in 2002, supported by the Council of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, and distributed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. She has lived in Hong Kong since 1970, with a couple of years’ break, when she was on the faculty of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. At the time the first edition of For the Record was published she was Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the Hong Kong Baptist University, where she taught from 1982 to 2004. She has previously also taught at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and the University of Hong Kong. With Verner Bickley, Gillian Bickley is one of four voices in the full audio recording of a set of three poetry anthologies, edited by Verner Bickley, Poems to Enjoy, published by Hong Kong Educational Publishing Company, and one of two voices in the full audio recording of the expanded five book set of Poems to Enjoy, published by Proverse Hong Kong, 2012-2015 For many years, she was an adjudicator at the Hong Kong Schools’ Speech Festival and was one of the panel of Adjudicators at the 1999/2000 Hong Kong Poetry Competition, organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society, of which Verner Bickley was then the Chairman and David Tang the President.
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