Jim Wong-Chu is remembered as an anthologist, poet, writer and community activist who mentored many. He was born in Hong Kong and came to Canada as a child in 1953 and was raised in British Columbia by aunts and uncles. He is the founder of the Vancouver-based Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop and its Ricepaper Magazine. With collaborators, Wong-Chu edited four anthologies of Chinese-Canadian literary works: Many-Mouthed Birds: Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians (1991), Swallowing Clouds: An Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry (1999), and, Strike the Wok: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Canadian Fiction (2003) and AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine (2015). Jim Wong-Chu died on July 11, 2017.
Vancouver: Pulp Press, 1986.
In this collection of poems–one of the first of its kind every to be published–Jim Wong-Chu emerges from the landscape of Chinese-Canadian café society to address the struggles and contradictions of a community seeking to honour the past while trying to break free of it. Exhilarating and terrifying, these poems are eloquent testimony to the forbearance of a culture, and, ultimately, its survival.
Chinatown Ghosts: The Poems and Photographs of Jim Wong-Chu
Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018.
PS8595 .O598 C5 2018
Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)
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.
Wong-Chu, Jim, interview by Jurgen Hesse. In Voices of Change: Immigrant Writers Speak Out, edited by Jurgen Hesse. Vancouver: Pulp Press, 1990, 184-201.
Publisher Arsenal Pulp Press (successor to Pulp Press)
Publisher Mawenzi House, formerly TSAR
Interview with Jenny Uechi in Ricepaper 15:4
Jim Wong-Chu obituary that appeared in the Vancouver Sun