By Jim Wong-Chu
Jim Wong-Chu is a legend in the Asian Canadian writing community. As founder of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop (and its magazine Ricepaper), he constantly encouraged and inspired writers across the country to get their work published and acknowledged, from Paul Yee and ... Read more
Jim Wong-Chu is a legend in the Asian Canadian writing community. As founder of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop (and its magazine Ricepaper), he constantly encouraged and inspired writers across the country to get their work published and acknowledged, from Paul Yee and Evelyn Lau to Madeleine Thien and Catherine Hernandez. When Jim passed away in 2017, at the age of sixty-eight, he left not only a void in the Asian Canadian writing and publishing community but also a legacy of his own work that was never fully recognized.
When it first appeared in 1986, Chinatown Ghosts was the first Chinese Canadian poetry book ever published; the poems spoke eloquently to the Chinese Canadian experience, both historical and present day. Out of print for some twenty-five years, this new edition includes Jim's striking and evocative photographs of Vancouver's Chinatown, revealing the soul of a place and a community that is threatened by gentrification and displacement.
The book also contains numerous tributes to Jim from some of Canada's finest Asian-Canadian writers and editors, including Allan Cho, Glenn Deer, Catherine Hernandez, SKY Lee, Fred Wah, Terry Watada, Rita Wong, and Paul Yee.
Chinatown Ghosts is a moving and stirring tribute to a poet, a photographer, and a community.
"I see the poems of Chinatown Ghosts not just as snapshots of a time and place gone by but as a necessary and panoramic part of Jim's struggle to envision a world that acknowledges difference. " --Fred Wah, from his essay in the book
Jim Wong-Chu was a poet, author, editor, and historian, and the founder of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and Ricepaper magazine. His groundbreaking 1986 poetry book Chinatown Ghosts was reissued in a new edition in 2018. He co-edited the anthologies Many-Mouthed Birds: Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians (Douglas & McIntyre), Swallowing Clouds: An Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry (Arsenal Pulp), and AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine (Arsenal Pulp). Jim Wong-Chu passed away in 2017.