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Dream of the Orchid Pavilion

Author: Hongwei Bao

Genre: Poetry

Cover Design: Robert Lever

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.00 + p&p 

Informed by his life experience as a queer Chinese migrant living in the UK, Hongwei Bao’s book ruminates upon love, intimacy, memory, heritage and identity.

On a late spring day of 353 CE, to celebrate the Spring Purification Festival, a group of forty-two Chinese literati gathered by a zigzagging brook playing a social game. Small cups filled with rice wine flew downstream. If a cup stopped in front of a person, they must either compose a poem or drink the wine. Thirty-seven poems were composed on that day, and a lot of rice wine were consumed. What if we could travel in time and join them in the party?

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‘Bao's poems acknowledge racism, violence and homophobia but never let them stay too long.  Instead, their delicate enactments of attention find solace in the erotic and the quotidian, till the very act of noticing becomes celebratory.  I loved this collection for its candour, its charm, and because I'll never look at a hair in a washbasin ever again without wanting to re-read the terrific poem about it here! 

He's building his own orchid pavilion, and we're all invited.’

                                                                 Rich Goodson, author of Mr Universe

‘Tender and punchy by turns, these are relevant poems which draw on Hongwei Bao’s heritage and roots

while encapsulating current queer experience. An important new voice.’

Maria Jastrzębska, author of Small Odysseys

‘Hongwei Bao reflects on his experience in a range of moods and forms, often apparently surprising himself with life’s variety.

Hopes are balanced by fears, joys by anger, but the celebratory mood prevails. This is an upliftingly queer collection.’

Gregory Woods, author of A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 

Hongwei Bao grew up in Inner Mongolia, China, and lives in Nottingham, UK. He teaches at the University of Nottingham. He uses poetry, short story and creative nonfiction to explore queer desire, Asian identity, diasporic positionality and transcultural intimacy. . He can sometimes be seen in Nottingham’s pubs performing poetry and enjoying a beer.

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His creative work has appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Poetry Catalog, Shanghai Literary Review, The Hooghly Review, The Other Side of Hope, The Ponder Review, The Rialto, The Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine and Write On.

His work has also been featured in anthologies such as Allegheny Nonfiction Anthology, Maria Lazar: Poetry from Exile, Queer Reparative Poetry Anthology and The Plaza Prizes Anthology One. His flash fiction ‘A Postcard from Berlin’ was a runner-up for the Plaza Prize for Microfiction in 2023. He is also the author of the poetry collection The Passion of the Rabbit God (Valley Press, 2024)

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