Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Island of Hope, Island of Tears 

Wednesday, Apr 28 2010
In popular American literature of the 19th century, Chinese immigrants were often characterized as obeisant, illiterate, and sexless. The truth — at once passionate, courageous, beautiful, and heartbreaking — could be found scratched into the wooden walls of Angel Island Detention Center. “Ellis Island of the West” was the first, and sometimes the last, impression hundreds of thousands of Chinese were given of California. On their way to treasure or tragedy, they left behind poetry and songs, some of which were preserved in collections in 1911 and 1915, and recently translated by Marlon K. Hom in his book, Songs of Gold Mountain: “I risked a perilous journey to come to the Flowery Flag Nation/ Immigration officers interrogated me/And, just for a slight lapse of memory/I am deported, and imprisoned in this barren mountain.” The Center for the Art of Translation marks the 100th anniversary of Angel Island’s opening with a special installment of Lit&Lunch. Hom shares Angel Island poetry and Chinatown songs which helped people face the racism, poverty, and promise of the immigrant experience and which today offer us a rare perspective on early San Francisco.
Tue., May 11, 12:30 p.m., 2010

About The Author

Silke Tudor


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"