MOCATalks with Jeffrey Thomas Leong: Translating and Reimagining the Angel Island Wall Poetry

Thu, Jun 6, 2019 @ 6:30pm - 7:30pm



Tickets are $15 and include wine and Museum admission. Members receive complimentary tickets. Not a Member? Join today!


Jeffrey Thomas Leong joins us to talk about translating and reimagining the Angel Island immigrant experience and how Chinese detainees used a literary art form to express their anger, loneliness, outrage and hope in order to support each other and persevere over racist exclusionary laws. In addition, Jeffrey will present his own family’s journey and how translation has changed his own writing.


Jeffrey Thomas Leong is a poet and writer raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. While earning his MFA degree at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, he began to translate anew the Chinese wall poems found at Angel Island, which became the book, Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island (2018). His own Angel Island poetry was recently published in Writ (2019). His writing has appeared in Crab Orchard, Bamboo Ridge, Hyphen, and Poetry Flash, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is also a graduate of UC Berkeley (BA, Asian American Studies, and JD, Law), where he helped found the Ethnic Studies program. For over twenty-five years he worked as an attorney and administrator in public health for the City of San Francisco, and in other lives, has been a singer-songwriter, disc jockey, high school teacher, and open mic host. He lives with his wife and daughter in the East Bay.