To Gather Your Leaving: Asian diaspora poetry from America, Australia, UK and Europe

Cover design by Natalie Christian Tan.

To Gather Your Leaving: Asian Diaspora Poetry from America, Australia, UK and Europe.
Eds. Boey Kim Cheng, Arin Alycia Fong, and Justin Chia. Singapore, Ethos books. 2019

64 poets. 259 poems. This project was a gargantuan feat in reading, curating, sourcing, managing, proofreading, and corresponding with amazing writers, all of whom offer poignant and invigorating ways of looking at nation, identity, culture, and place.

Gathered here are established and new poets who are émigrés, refugees, and descendants of Asian migrants, poets who straddle two or more languages, cultures, and places, and who question and complicate the notion of home in the age of global change and transnational crossings.

The title of the book is taken from one of my favourite Ocean Vuong poems.

Here’s the man
whose arms are wide enough to gather 
your leaving

Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong

This book was co-launched at the Singapore Writers’ Festival 2019, together with another short story anthology, In This Desert, There Were Seeds. Contributors from the short story collection read poems from To Gather Your Leaving that resonated with their short fiction, all of which respond in some way to the anxieties of the future, migration, belonging, and identity. In response to my story “Walking on Water“, I read Cathy Song’s “Cloud Moving Hands”.

To leave the body
when it is time
must be like this,
nothing more than giving one’s self
over to what is always
holding us, the soft lapping.

“Cloud Moving Hands”, Cathy Song


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