a dream about matthew 25.

Research output: Textual Creative WorksCreative Works Original - Textual


Research Background
Theorists like Ien Ang, Jacqueline Lo, Lucille Lok-Sun Ngan, and Chan Kwok-bun have all explored different aspects of the ‘diasporised and hybridised’ (Lo) identities of Asian-Australians. Ang, for example, has written of the ‘complex and dynamic articulations which thoroughly disturb the neat and static categories of managerial multiculturalism’ (On Not Speaking Chinese). This is a field that has been addressed by Australian-based poets of Asian heritage including James Stuart, Adam Aitkin, Eileen Chong, Michelle Cahill, and Eleanor Jackson, but also international poets like Sarah Howe (UK), Cynthia Arrieu-King (USA), and Li-Young Lee (USA). Lunar Inheritance is a poetic project that responds to the ontological, social, familial and material questions faced by Asian-Australians in the contemporary world by ‘staging’ its own hybrid journey. It does so by simultaneously travelling through Chinese cities, through redacted family histories, and through a hoarding Grandmother’s Sydney house.

Research Contribution

Lunar Inheritance is a fusion of disquieting family histories, contemporary urban counter-experiences, and the intensities of a hybridised identity, all set against syncopated rhythms of faith and doubt. The project is a refusal of valorised affiliation or easily genealogical revelation in favour of an almost intractable sense that each hard-won disclosure must also conceal as much as it reveals. In this way it is a poetry about an ‘un-heritage stacked five/ stories high’ or the ‘blended circumstance’ of the members of the Chinese diaspora in Sydney. But despite this weight of identity and representation, the poems themselves are playfully evocative and intellectual rigorous, skimming the surfaces of modern-day existence with a fizzing type of lyric energy.
Lunar Inheritance is concerned with the speed and terrifying elegance of contemporary Chinese economic growth, the materialism and consumption that pave over even the recent past, making some histories and inheritances impossible to recover. These volatile moments of contemporary existence provide a fascinating staging ground for what Jacqueline Lo labels the ‘contradictory processes of subjectification and identification’ that cross cultural analysis involves. And yet despite such contradictory forces, Lunar Inheritance turns out to be a surprisingly agile type of poetic interrogation, one that can manoeuvre around curious inheritances like a hoarder’s collection of indistinguishable objects, or indeed modern society’s collection of shallow and interchangeable surfaces.

Research Significance
The significance of this research is that it extends the field of Asian-Australian hybrid writing, by exploring notions of inheritance, hoarding, race, and contemporary material existence. It addresses China, Australia, and Chinese-Australianness from within what has been labelled the ‘Asian Century’. Parts of this project were written with the aid of an Australia Council for the Arts, Emerging Writers’ Grant. Poems from the book have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Axon, The Best Australian Poems 2016, Cha, Kitaab, Mascara Literary Review, Once Wild: The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2014, Pencilled In, St Mark’s Review, Underneath: The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize 2015, and The Best Australian Poems 2016. Poems from this project have been shortlisted and commended for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and longlisted for the Canberra Poetry Prize. Readings of these poems have occurred in cities around the world, including Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Seattle, Fort Worth, and New York.
Original languageEnglish
Type8-line poem
Media of outputJournal
PublisherSt. Mark's National Theological Centre
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationCanberra
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameSt Mark's Review


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