Louise Ho

A Grain of Sand: Poems from Hong Kong

Her first volume of poetry, Sheung-Shui Pastoral (1977), marks Louise Ho as one of the early pioneers of Hong Kong poetry in English. The persistence of her efforts is one vital factor in the garnering of attention to English poetry writing in Hong Kong.

She chooses English as the poetic medium that works for her, and with it she has no hesitation to point out the importance of Cantonese for Hong Kong itself. In “Incense Tree,” the title poem of her recent volume (2009), she uses a terse language that nevertheless encompasses Latin and the local language, to celebrate the Hong Kong heritage and, in naming the threats posed, resists its destruction.

Ho writes in an imagistic style as well as the declamatory, the lyrical in addition to the satirical. Irony, a distinctive hallmark of her writing, creates instabilities of meanings that give scope to interpretations while instigating readers to reflect on what ought to be, on order and ethos.

Off the Train at Sheung Shui 1977
Colours of Corot 1994
What’s in a Name 1994
Home to Hong Kong 1994
Jamming 1994
Remembering 4th June, 1989 1994
Upon Hearing of a Friend’s Death (after Yeats) 1997
Island 1997
Flags and Flowers 1997
Incense Tree 2009


Louise Ho