Background

Moving Poetry, a pioneering project, began in Hong Kong in 2001. It was founded by Professor Shirley Geok-lin Lim, who has published five books of poetry, received the 1997 American Book Award for her memoir Among the White Moon Faces, and won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Crossing the Peninsula.  

Dr. Elaine Yee Lin Ho, co-artistic director of Moving Poetry, is the author of a full-length study, Timothy Mo: Contemporary World Writers. Her wide field of publications includes Renaissance literature, contemporary Anglophone writing, postcolonial theory, Hong Kong literature and film. Co-artistic director Dr. Page Richards joined Moving Poetry in the first year. Publishing in poetry and drama, she has a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a Master's in creative writing from Boston University, and has recently worked with Nobel Laureate poets Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott as well as with Rosanna Warren, David Ferry, and the former Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky. In 2001, Moving Poetry was co-organized with the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR), with the support of the Language Fund and the dedicated work of Dr. K. W. Cheung of the Faculty of Education, and the creative guidance of Ms. Bernadette Tsui and Ms. Janice Chan of the Development & Alumni Affairs Office. In 2001 two Moving Poetry buses featuring original work by students ran in Hong Kong, and Moving Poetry received kind support from KMB, First Bus, MTR, and Cathay Pacific. In 2002, Moving Poetry was organized with the support of the University Grants Committee's Interface Projects.

In 2003-2006 Mônica Zionede-Hall, a first-class honors graduate of HKU in International Politics and American Studies, served as the Creative Coordinator for Moving Poetry. Additionally, she worked with the Creative Writing Forum, the Drama Series, and Yuan Yang A Journal of Hong Kong and International Writing. Beginning in 2003, Moving Poetry, with the generous support from the Seed Grant granted by the HKU Foundation, added several branches: the Moving Poetry Series, a series of small and continuing workshops led by poets held in the Creative Writing Forum; summer classes beginning in July of 2005; and a new website, including interactive sites for visiting poets and continuing discussion.

In 2006, Marina Ma, a first-class honors graduate of HKU in English Studies and a graduate of Master of Philosophy at HKU in Chinese American Literature, joined Moving Poetry and the School of English as the Director of Creative Writing Programmes. Yuan Yang: A Journal of Hong Kong and International Writing, Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing (English), Creative Writing Forum including the Writers' Series are several other programmes she is currently involved in. In addition, she serves as Event Manager for the School of English. In the past year, she has organized major literary events by distinguished speakers such as former U.S. poet laureate, Rita Dove, Man Booker Prize 2006 winner, Kiran Desai and U.S. icon, Gore Vidal. Since 2006, Marina Ma has also promoted and organized Moving Poetry's first Intermediate Class, a joint Summer Classes with the Education and Manpower Bureau, and a set of workshops for the Moving Poetry Series. Starting in 2006, Moving Poetry has been running as a self-funded programme through the guidance of Director, Dr. Page Richards. Moving Poetry has since been working towards offering awards and (need-based and merit-based) scholarships for students enrolled in Moving Poetry workshops.

Moving Poetry also works with teachers who daily meet with students. We offer workshops for teachers that give guidance and materials, suggestions that can be easily adapted to the classroom at all levels. The fundamentals of poetry and clear self-expression can be taught at any age, and honed at any level. Different paces and learning styles are supported by Moving Poetry. We support teachers and students in workshops that build vocabulary and mobility in English. In these workshops, students continue to develop an ear for the English language, while finding joy in making something with their own experiences and increasing mastery.

As Professor Lim says, "We believe the children of Hong Kong can and will write beautiful poems that will astonish and move us." Moving Poetry trusts that writing poetry will bring students the thrill of experimenting with all of their senses and encourage the kind of perceptive observations that will make them alive to the sights, sounds, smells and feel of their surroundings, their homes, their friendships, their motivations, and the extraordinary city that is Hong Kong.