new zealand electronic poetry centre



Ya-Wen Ho


Recorded 1 October and 2 December 2014 at the University of Auckland

Ya-Wen Ho
 Photo credit: Boris White

Ya-Wen Ho graduated from the University of Auckland with her BA/BFA(Hons) in 2012. She is a poet, writer, doodler and zine-maker who enjoys the ambiguous spaces where disciplines overlap. Her first book last edited [insert time here] is available from TinFish Press.

Poem notes

‘Hyperventilating on the Threshold of It-hood’ and ‘They Call Me Captain Stiff Upper / Lip’ come from my love of density, cultural flotsam and the slip and slide of language. I inherit some of these loves from my father, who loved puns and played language games in homophone-rich Mandarin during our long road trips in the first years after our arrival in New Zealand. One of the games, jiē lóng, is a breathless race of picking up someone else's last sound, making it the first of your phrase and so forth in an infinite sequence. Just like these poems, really.

Childhood forms exist in these poems, as do theories and techniques discovered in Lisa Samuels' English 323 Contemporary Poetry paper. I had just learnt about torque - the recontextualisation of words in unexpected ways - and excitedly tried it out by aurally folding the last syllable of a line into the first syllable of the following line. When I performed that poem at a Lounge reading, I knew I was onto a good thing.

‘Time of the Milk Tea,’ ‘Time of Death’ and ‘Time of the Rice Milk’ document the passing of my father, who loved delicious things.


Last updated 25 March, 2014