In the fifth episode of the Meanjin Narratives podcast, poet Eileen Chong recites three of her works, spanning across continents and millennia in their inspiration.
‘Magnolia’ (published in Meanjin in 2016) is based on a legendary character in Chinese history, Hua Mu Lan, who was a warrior during the Northern and Southern dynasties period (420 – 580 AD). ‘Lu Xun, your hands’ (published in Meanjin in 2010) is a love poem addressed to one of China’s leading modern writers. And in the present day, ‘My Mother Talks in Numbers’ (published in 2018) imagines a poignant conversation between the author and her mother.
Eileen Chong is the author of eight books. Her most recent full-length collection, Rainforest, was published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2018. Her books have shortlisted for several awards, including twice for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. She lives and works in Sydney, Australia. www.eileenchong.com.au (photograph by Charlene Winfred Photography)