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Kam Louie

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028412

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028412.001.0001

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Louise Ho and the Local Turn: The Place of English Poetry in Hong Kong

Louise Ho and the Local Turn: The Place of English Poetry in Hong Kong

(p.74) (p.75) 5 Louise Ho and the Local Turn: The Place of English Poetry in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Culture
Kam Louie
Hong Kong University Press

This chapter is about the intersection between history and the local in the English poetry of Louise Ho. The “Home to Hong Kong” poem is not a poem of intellectual complexity or emotional intensity. Its language is neither original nor beautiful. What it does is to tell a lively story about a Chinese cosmopolitanism, apparently available to Hong Kong people, although still, in the 1980s when the poem was written, not much more than a dream to most mainland Chinese. It builds a cumulative structure that resembles that of a joke. The act of invitation narrated in its main verb is one that places the inviter in the position of host—at home, wherever the invitation is actually issued. It is a cosmopolitan illocution. Here is a life of international friendship, of eclectic taste, of frictionless mobility between scholarly, spiritual and commercial centres, old world and new, West and East.

Keywords:   English poetry, Louise Ho, Home to Hong Kong, China, cosmopolitanism, act of invitation, history

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