Swan Scythe Press

Paradise Hunger


Paradise Hunger

By Henry W. Leung

ISBN: 978-1-930454-38-5

Read an interview of Henry Leung in the Michigan Quarterly Review

Read an excerpt: “Tombsweeping Day

Praise for Paradise Hunger

“Exquisitely structured in elegiac lyric tapestries, Paradise Hunger ferries us into a luminous underworld filled with messages of grief and the promise of renewal. From Hawai‘i to Guangdong, Castro Valley to the Gobi Desert, Paradise Hunger maps the intricate geography of mourning, dazzling in its juxtaposition of sorrow and resilience.”

— Stephen Hong Sohn

“Abounding with melodious examples of the lyric narrative poem, Henry W. Leung’s chapbook traverses the experiences of immigration, seasons of loss and grief, and permutations of hunger. From classical mythology to Hawaiian legends, the languages and voices of “talkstory” in Paradise Hunger serve as a locus or guide across displacements of revolution, history, and memory. This is a rich collection to savor, line by line, as Leung muses on questions of home in stanzas eloquently laden with image and allusion: “You gave us peaches, our golden apples of Hera, our home myth. Peaches blooming only once each three thousand years.”

— Karen An-hwei Lee

“Paradise Hunger is a sweet peach that I don’t want to end, so I return to it over and over again. Each reading offers something new: sometimes I read it as an immigration story, then as a multigenerational narrative in which “The generations of migration flit / like hungry ghosts in search of graves…” Other times I read it as a chronicle of the Chinese experience in California. Then it becomes a ghost story, an elegy, a mythology, and an odyssey. Taking cues from masters as recent as Walcott and as far back as Milton and Homer, Henry W. Leung’s compact and multilayered collection—written to make language appear like new again—feels like an epic. I don’t know any other poet as young as Leung that has this level of skill and craft.”

— John Olivares Espinoza

About Henry W. Leung

Henry W. Leung was born in a village in Guangdong, China, and grew up in Honolulu and later in the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his BA from Stanford and studied abroad at Peking, Cambridge, and Oxford Universities. Now he is a Kundiman Fellow and a Soros Fellow completing his MFA in Fiction at the University of Michigan, where he’ll continue as a Helen Zell Fellow. He has been a teacher in Hong Kong, a mentor/assistant at the Prague Summer Program, and a panelist at AWP. His prose and poetry have recently appeared in Boxcar, Cerise Press, CURA, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Memoir (and), and ZYZZYVA. He has served as an editor for the Best American Nonrequired Reading and as a columnist for the Lantern Review.

Contact Henry W. Leung: leung.wx@gmail.com