Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s Hula Hooping was 15 years from inception to publication. The writing has a liveliness and precision that is exuberant and without pretense. Word-play is that—play and fun! She invites the reader in with lyricism and wit. This is the kind of poetry I like to read because if I can’t move into the poem fairly quickly, I won’t hang out til the end. I want to hang out and read this book and I will say this—I would recommend it to students and readers who may feel intimidated by poetry. Because they won’t be scared by this book. So yeah, it’s my kind of poetry book. Very very people oriented. Dear Readers and Teachers: this is an ideal text.
This writing moves straight to the heart. While I know the basics of Ho’s background, it’s not required to enjoy the work. (If too much explanation about the poet is required to understand the poem, I’m turned off. Go ahead, throw stones at my plebeian brain. You think I care? Sorry, I don’t!)
Ho is a writer, translator, professor, scholar, founding and current editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal online, and head of PEN Hong Kong and writes literature in English. Mind boggling truly.
If you want to understand the pulse of the HK people, their dreams and hopes, how they make their identity across languages and cultures, you might pick up a copy of Hula Hooping. This is the book that can hook a new reader of poetry, and if you do that, you’re definitely in the game in a serious way. Honesty. Dreams. Play. Read it!