2002

Two Rivers:
New Vietnamese Writing
from America and Viet Nam

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Guest Editors
Kevin Bowen and Ngyuen Ba Chung

Century of the Tiger
One Hundred Years of Korean Culture
in America (1902–2002)

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Guest Editors Jenny Ryun Foster
and Heinz Insu Fenkl

Two Rivers features new fiction, poetry, and essays from Vietnamese and Vietnamese American writers guest-edited by Kevin Bowen and Nguyen Ba Chung. One generation after the end of the Vietnamese-American War, the United States is home to over a million Vietnamese. Their contribution to America’s vitality has never been greater, and their views about the war, their resettlement, and the future never more diverse. A period of reexamination, reflection, and new dialogue has begun on both sides of the Pacific; the writing in this collection highlights some of the strongest and most thoughtful literary voices of this time.
 
Other new work in the volume includes poetry by Korean poet Ko Un, Chinese poet Shi Zhi, and Americans Leonard Nathan, John McKernan, Joseph Millar, and Bradajo; and prose by Juan Carlos Onetti, George Evans, and Virgil Suárez. The art consists of a set of antique postcards depicting Viet Nam.
 

About the guest editors: Kevin Bowen served as a soldier in Viet Nam from 1968 to 1969. He is the cotranslator of Distant Road by Nguyen Duy, A Time Far Past by Luu Le, and Mountain River: Vietnamese Poetry from the Wars, 1948–1993. Bowen is also the author of two books of poetry: Forms of Prayer at the Hotel Edison and Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong. He is the director of the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Nguyen Ba Chung is a poet, translator, and essayist. He was born in 1949 in Kim Thanh District, Hai Duong Province, and moved to Saigon with his family in 1955. In 1971, after attending the Faculty of Letters in Saigon, he came to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in American literature at Brandeis University. He has been a research associate at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts at Boston since 1996 and is the author of four collections of poetry in Vietnamese and the cotranslator of numerous volumes into English.

Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America commemorates the hundredth anniversary of Korean immigration to the United States. Included are some of the best and most eloquent Korean poets and prose writers in Korea and America; together with visual artists, they bring to life the dramatic, complex, and largely untold story of the Korean American experience. Editors are Jenny Ryun Foster, Frank Stewart, and Heinz Insu Fenkl, and designers are Hawai‘i’s nationally renowned graphic artists Elsa Carl and Clarence Lee.

Century of the Tiger is printed in a large format and has full color throughout. The book’s 260 pages include reproductions of Korean art pieces, many from the collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts; reproductions of pieces by contemporary Korean American artists Karen Hong, Ezekiel Chihye Hwang, Kloe Sookhee Kang, Diane Chongmin Kim, Grace Kim, Jinja Kim, Colleen Kimura, Chang-Jin Lee, Sandra Sunnyo Lee, Mary Long, Naomi Long, and Kwang Kyu Yi; and stunning color images of Korea by Hawai‘i photographer Tom Haar.


Poster based on the front cover.

 

Chapter summaries

Chapter one, “Land of Morning Calm,” summarizes the cultural history of Korea, including the country’s many innovations in science and technology and its artistic achievements. It also provides readers with the context in which Koreans began to leave their country for America. The chapter features excerpts from the novels of Younghill Kang, the first Korean American writer. Having participated in the March first demonstration of 1919 and been pursued by Japanese police through China and Russia, Kang immigrated to North America at age twenty-one. Awarded a graduate degree by Harvard University in 1927, he was celebrated in the U.S. for his writing and his strong advocacy on behalf of Koreans and Korean nationalism.

Chapter two, “Sailing to the Garden of Mugunghwa,” tells the story of the first wave of Korean immigrant workers, most of whom settled in Hawai‘i. The remainder continued on to the West Coast. Writers in this chapter include Mary Paik Lee and Morris Pang.

Chapter three, “Manse!” recalls the nationalist movement, in which Koreans at home and abroad attempted to free their country from Japanese occupation. The movement not only created strong bonds among Korean immigrants, but also tragic splits as groups disagreed over the best strategies. Authors in this chapter include Margaret K. Pai and Richard Kim, as well as Korean poets Kim Sowol, Yi Sang-hwa, Sim Hun, and Yun Dongju.

Chapter four, “War and Liberation,” brings to life the turbulent years from 1941 to 1953. Many Koreans were hopeful that Japan’s defeat would lead to freedom for the homeland. In 1950, however, a bitter civil war erupted in Korea; after a three-year conflict, the country was devastated and thousands of families were divided. The writers in this chapter include novelist Kim Ronyoung, a daughter of the second generation who was born in Los Angeles. Like many of the parents of Kim’s generation, her mother was an activist in the Korean independence movement and devoted time and money to nationalist causes. Other writers in this chapter include Gary Pak, K. Connie Kang, Chris McKinney, Hwang Sun-won, Walter K. Lew, So Chongju, and Chon Sangpyong.

Chapter five, “New Arrivals in a Changed America,” brings readers to the present. In the second half of the twentieth century, Korean immigrants came to the U.S. in greater numbers and acquired new rights of U.S. citizenship, increasing the Korean American population to over one million. The chapter includes contemporary fiction writers Chang-Rae Lee, Caroline Jeong-Mee Kim, June Unjoo Yang, Ha-yun Jung, and Don Lee. Featured poets include Sue Kwock Kim, Ishle Yi Park, Naomi Long, Ok-Koo Kang Grosjean, and Kim Yangshik.

200 pp., summer 2002 (14:1), $20

ISBN 978-0-8248-2581-0

256 pp., winter 2002 (14:2)
paper, $24; cloth, $45
ISBN 978-0-8248-2644-2