Size / / /

In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Marcus Chan's "Candle Piety," with commentary by the poet and by editor emeritus Li Chua.

 

From the poet:

Candle Piety was written right after my visit to the burial site of one of my family members. I remember waking up with haze burning in my eyes before the dawn to escape the late morning crowd. The burning joss seen through half-opened eyes made me think of a half-melted candle, which gave rise to my second stanza. I held on to that image all throughout the day as the ceremony went on - the remembrance of a person I couldn't realize fully anymore. But all around me were grieving people and I couldn't tell if they felt the same, if the people they mourned were real or nothing more than scattered memories. I struggled to frame what I saw and felt inside my head. And when I went home, I began to write.

From editor emeritus Li Chua:

What initially drew me to this poem? When I was reading it, I was struck by the very personal experience conveyed through this poem, and also, I really liked how the poem ended off, so what I mean by this is, the poem is very much the poet's experience on the Qingming Festival, which, for those who are not quite familiar with traditional Chinese festivals, is this traditional festival where usually families would go back to the grave site to pay respects to the ancestors. It calls back to a lot of the traditions that you do during that time, like burning the joss sticks, burning paper money for the ancestors, the prayers, and stuff.

I like that aspect, and I like that it was also paired with this kind of feeling of disconnect. The narrator's voice is very much going through the motions, but also half in and half out of his reality, almost a dreamlike state or in between reality and the afterlife. I liked that, and I liked how it came together in the end, the whole package of the poem, this person who is waking and not quite in and out, like he's participating, but also not there.

The title of the poem's called, "Candle Piety," which reminds of you of the concept of filial piety, which is this very Confucious concept of being respectful to your ancestors, and of all days, Qingming is one of the days where you really, really pay attention to your ancestors and stuff. But he's also unsure at the same time, so I liked the two sides, hand-in-hand, and how in the end, he ends off this kind of quiet lament of mourning those who have gone.

I really liked how it came together, because Qingming's to honor your ancestors, but it's also essentially the loss of the people who have passed on. It was really nostalgiac for me reading it, and it was also very beautifully, beautifully put together. It just calls the emotion very well. So that's why I picked it, and I'm glad to share it with the Strange Horizons readership.


This is a podcast of:

Marcus Chan daydreams, writes, and is probably too fond of a good turn of phrase. Even odds are that he’ll wander through his twenties with a book in one hand and a pencil in the other, happily scribbling away.
Current Issue
1 Dec 2020

A toda la gente lectora: esperamos que disfruten mucho este especial de México de Strange Horizons. To all readers: we hope you enjoy this special issue from Mexico by Strange Horizons.
Onka miyek tlajle. Se lamajtsin itsintlan se xalxokokojtle kitlajkwilia etl.
The painful stigmata did not let me drive for long. / El doloroso estigma no me permitió conducir.
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Ateri Miyawatl
Hay mucha tierra. Una anciana sentada bajo un árbol de guayaba limpia frijol negro.
By: Ateri Miyawatl
Translated by: Adam Coon
There is a lot of earth. An elderly woman gathers beans below a guava tree.
—Soy un tlacuache y tengo la culpa de tu extinción, Armando.
“I am a tlacuache, and your extinction is my fault, Armando.”
En el fondo del mar no hay poetas, sólo criaturas fotovoltaicas y paisajes sombríos.
By: Vraiux Dorós
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
No poets are found at the bottom of the sea—only photovoltaic creatures and ghostly landscapes.
Manx was an amorphous alien made of pink slime, lard, and buttercream.
By: Luz Rosales
Translated by: Andrea Chapela
Manx era un alienígena amorfo rosa, hecho de babaza, manteca y crema para batir.
La materia oscura abarca ochenta por ciento del universo y, como el agar en un medio de cultivo, es lo que permite que estructuras como cúmulos o galaxias permanezcan unidas.
Dark matter makes up eighty percent of the universe. Like agar culture medium, this is what holds things like galaxy clusters—and galaxies themselves—together.
She checks the knob and the door is unlocked—she pokes her head through. Smoke from burning sage wraps around her.
Toma el picaporte y, al girarlo, descubre que la casa está abierta. Cuando se asoma, la golpea un olor a salvia quemada.
La evoco ahora: la tarde fría, el jardín insólito, las enredaderas, los pináculos, los charcos en curiosas figuras chinescas.
I see it now: the cold afternoon, the curious garden, the climbing vines, the pinnacles, the oddly-shaped puddles like Chinese letters.
I thought it was one of those reserved for tourists and ignorant throats. / pensé que era uno de esos reservados para turistas y catadores ignorantes.
drinking the symphony of the galactic parrot / bebe la sinfonia del pájaro galáctico / sk’upinbe sk’ejoj mutal yut vinajel
Some Mexican visual artists that I've really been loving are Miguel Covarrubias, Emilio Amero, and particularly Ernesto García Cabral.
Issue 23 Nov 2020
By: Michael Bazzett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Michael Bazzett
Issue 16 Nov 2020
By: Cat Aquino
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Michael Chang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 9 Nov 2020
By: Miyuki Jane Pinckard
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 2 Nov 2020
By: Allison Mulvihill
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ali Trotta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Oct 2020
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Aber O. Grand
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 12 Oct 2020
By: Elisabeth R. Moore
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Stephanie Jean
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Oct 2020
By: J.L. Akagi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Lesley Wheeler
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Lesley Wheeler
Issue 28 Sep 2020
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 21 Sep 2020
By: Aqdas Aftab
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: