Web Exclusives - Poetry

Reid Mitchell | Poetry


See? How pitted the face of the Moon!

That’s Cain’s fault and expiation. 

Exiled for murder he roams

with his bundle of thorns scratching

and scarring the Moon’s pink

unforgiving stone...


Kunwar Narain | Poetry



When the colour of imagination fills it 
the picture changes 
into the rough and rugged travels 
of a nameless traveller 

Perhaps I was wandering, 
connecting countries, 
on some silk road 


ALR Staff | Poetry


100 Great Indian Poems is a collection spanning three millennia and twenty-eight of India's languages, and includes poems that will be unknown to the most avid readers, as well as work by writers familiar to the world.

Edited by Abhay K. and available from 10 February 2018, 100 Great Indian Poems is published by Bloomsbury India and available on Amazon.

Shirley Lee | Poetry


This piece is derived from Jeongshik Min’s paper 'A Visual Collective Biography of the Former Korean Comfort Women'. The collective biography in poetic form is inspired by ‘memory-work’ that moves towards a collective history. The Wednesday Demonstrations have been a central influence; Min’s visit to the House of Sharing, the group conversations, and the paintings by the former sexual slaves have provided material for the articulation of ‘the stories without voice’. The original text has been reworked by Shirley Lee with the author’s permission.


Kavita A. Jindal | Poetry


What could a dissident be?
A sibilant discord
a stand-up comic
an artist, or just someone
who disagrees with authority?
Liu Xiaobo | Poetry


'for my wife, who waits every day


Nothing remains in your name, nothing

but to wait for me, together with the dust of our home'


Liu Xiaobo | Poetry
All that I have, I have to hand over to you
as believers hand over their souls to God.
If the cross in your heart is now risen,
without faltering I will dye it with blood.
Liu Xiaobo | Poetry


Liu Xiaobo's 'You Wait for Me With Dust' - Chinese original: 和灰尘一起等我 - 给终日等待的妻


Theophilus Kwek | Poetry


'How do I tell you now about the way 
they placed it in his hands, a baby’s weight, 
just as tenderly pulled his shoulders back 
to take the heave and coil, every fresh blow 
leaving him sore, the sour echo of this 
is how you kill a man?'
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | Poetry


'He asked me to put the hairs

in a small yellow box. It was plastic,

with a catch at the front that clicked

when closed.'



Daljit Nagra | Poetry


Somewhere in the sunshine of the everlasting dawn

     from my airborne stance

I feel absorbed across the broad pavement.

Or am I dissolved in a voice

that can’t sever from its verse.



Daljit Nagra | Poetry


How oft do mates bang on at length about

how well they’re hung, they grab their crotch then slash

the air, then chuck an arm at will around

a chum while necking Stella till they’re lashed.


Abhay K. | Poetry


Hiuen Tsang spent seventeen years travelling from China to India and back in the seventh century CE, at the time of the Tang dynasty emperor Taizong. His adventures inspired Wu Ch’en-en’s sixteenth century novel, Journey to the West, which refers to India as ‘Buddha’s pure land’.


Yomei Chiang | Poetry


We're in free fall

from life to life 

From the gallows on Tower Hill

to a palace in Old Cathay...


Anuradha Gupta | Poetry


I should have kept it –

the tongue I grew up with,

the language of my mother

and her mother before her...


John Thieme | Poetry


I make steady progress across the board.
‘Imperious’ is the word you use to describe it, 
While mounting a nonchalant defence, 
Against my hopeful, hopping pegs, 
Pygmy soldiers in the Shanghai dusk.
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | Poetry


In Hong Kong, an art installation is taken down when the artists explain what it really means.

Sonnet Mondal | Poetry


The four plastic sunflowers in my bedroom –
The way they swayed in the ceiling fan’s air
Were the functional year-long April for me.
Reshma Ruia | Poetry


The cockpit dashboard blinks 

A thousand eyes

Each dial a finger

Spinning him somewhere 

Far beyond the star-rimmed sky...

Jee Leong Koh | Poetry


The floor is cold with the coming winter.

     I pull on white socks

and sit down before the blackout window

to think about our separation closing in.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | Poetry
It took an artist a hundred days to suck
enough pollutants out of the Beijing air to make a brick...
Saleem Peeradina | Poetry


In Eden, the fig leaf failed its mission – the fruit hung

Immodestly from the tree, tender as a testicle.

Shanta Acharya | Poetry


After a painting, ‘Yogini in the forest’, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


'It had something to do with the air...'

Reid Mitchell | Poetry


Jiangnan canals are frozen

Men walking home are murdered

for a pint of rice. Door to door, orphans

beg for gruel. Sly, greasy cooks invite them

in to welcoming kitchens.

Andrew Barker | Poetry


Harem whore. Worthy Lady. Concubine.

Then Consort. Then the Noble Consort Yi.

Kim Kyung-ju | Poetry


It is raining, but people’s faces are flowing, hugging separate things as they enter the used-book store. They unhappily place their book in a vacant space and then one worn out book spreads open in secret.

Dino Mahoney | Poetry

Hong Kong, bing bong,

Boho, Noho, Lan Kwai Fong.

Roving eye, see you later,

rising up the escalator.....

(With a translation in Chinese by Simon Wu)

Download Hong Kong Bar Hop from iTunes here.

Read Dino Mahoney's Hong Kong Bar Hop blog post here.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | Poetry


Shamed by your denial,

we wait:

Glory and repentance,

we seek both.

we need both.

Queenie Li | Poetry


‘They have families to feed,’ I was told.
‘They really cannot be blamed.’
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming | Poetry


Treasures From the Vault:

Three poems by Tammy Ho, originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Asia Literary Review.

Reid Mitchell | Poetry


According to RocketNews24, peach producers in the PRC are struggling to make sales. A controversial marketing ploy prompted China-based poet Reid Mitchell to pen this paean to peaches.

Reid Mitchell | Poetry
The army opened the gates,
the barracks, the sports fields,
the armoury to us today
So we now know
when we are gunned down
it will be by lonely
Kate Rogers | Poetry
In February the north wind was still sharpening its knife
on the granite of Lantau Peak.
A man on a motorcycle sped up
to slit open the skin of a journalist;
exposed his backbone.
Ann Ang | Poetry


First day and Third Uncle says,
‘Raining liao, last year not like that.’
Spring, in his mind
is a static, sweltering brightness.

Veronica Pedrosa | Poetry


You came to me like the rain.
Time passed; the weather changed
and you left puddles on the earth
that showed me the sky in the mud.
Changming Yuan | Poetry


Seeing the strange belts
like little mouth masks
hung on bamboo poles
I often wondered ...

Bryan Cheong Sui Kang | Poetry


The trapped their caves escape.
The honest poor rejoice in the streets of Baghdad,
and birds despite the cage
have words enough to speak.

Shanta Acharya | Poetry


This poem was inspired by the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey who was gang-raped in a bus in Delhi on 16 December 2012. She later died in a hospital in Singapore, where she was sent for treatment by the Indian authorities. The Indian media called the 23 year-old woman Nirvaya, the fearless one. It was her father, Badrinath Singh, who revealed her name. He wanted the world to know who she was.

Reid Mitchell | Poetry


Simon Peter gives his own account of knife crime.

     A sword?  Some sword.
     I grabbed a meat knife off the table
     when Jeshua warned us
     we had a betrayer in our midst.
ALR Staff | Poetry

For work that hasn't yet been transferred from our previous website, click on one of the links below:

More highlights coming soon...

Jang Jin-sung | Poetry


'Wherever people are gathered

there are gunshots to be heard....'

Read The Executioner and other poems by Jang Jin-sung, translated by Shirley Lee


ALR Staff | Poetry

Poems from Modern Chinese Poetry: Insistent Voices, by Zheng Danyi.

Bei Dao, Duo Duo, Shu Ting, Yang Lian, Gu Cheng, Zhai Yongmin, Bai Hua, Zhang Zhao, Chen Dongdong, Zheng Danyi.