Incense Tree

Collected Poems of Louise Ho


Louise Ho

ISBN : 978-962-209-054-5

Literary Studies

March 2009

188 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″

  • HK$120.00

Louise Marie Shew Wan Ho was born and brought up mainly in Hong Kong, and has lived in Mauritius, England, America and Australia. She was associate professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, teaching Shakespeare and English/American poetry. She is now retired, lives on top of a hill and does digging in various contexts.

Louise Ho is a Chinese poet from Hong Kong who finds her feet in English. Since her first publications more than thirty years ago, her poetry collected here has been a reflection of the fortunes of the city and its people, their hopes and anxieties, their achievements, crises, dispersals and renewals. She is the leading English-language poet in Hong Kong, happy to work in a language that might be thought a colonial residue, and well versed in its poetic traditions, often making use and sometimes making fun of them. At times she uses Cantonese words or sounds within her English poems, and one of her goals is the creation of a space where the English literary language expresses as well as is incorporated into the local ethos, thus becoming almost a new hybrid idiom, which remains at the same time definitely English. Whether writing about home in Hong Kong, or travel and exile elsewhere, she is a sharp-eyed and often sardonic observer, with a gift for spare lyricism and a feeling for the ironies of history.

“In these poems written over four decades, Louise Ho is from beginning to end a poet of Hong Kong, whether her subjects are local or cosmopolitan. She has a strong sense of place, a sharp and unillusioned eye, and a voice in which English poetry takes on a distinctive tone and inflection, deriving from an experience that is both Chinese and global.” —Douglas Kerr, Professor of English, University of Hong Kong and author of Eastern Figures: Orient and Empire in British Writing

“Louise Ho’s is a strong distinctive voice and eye. She strives at all times for clarity, and attempts at all times to communicate effectively and directly with her reader. This is a poetry of hard, sharp outlines and edges. She has a capacity for public statement, and it is in this sphere that she shows her characteristic particular flair in poems about cosmopolitanness and rootlessness and in poems that engage in simple direct manner in religious and philosophical reflection, or that explore social evil and human violence.” —Michael Hollington, formerly Professor of English, University of New South Wales, Australia, and University of Toulouse, France