National Angel Island Day with the Last Hoisan Poets + Del Sol Quartet

The Last Hoisan Poets

The Last Hoisan Poets, 2022. Photograph by Gary Sexton

Join the Last Hoisan Poets, Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong, and Nellie Wong, three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, to commemorate the 113th anniversary of the Angel Island Immigration Station’s opening on National Angel Island Day. Their performance “Echoes from Angel Island” is dedicated to the ancestors and descendants of Angel Island immigrants and features music by Del Sol Quartet. 

In 2010, former president Barack Obama proclaimed January 21 as National Angel Island Day, calling upon the people of the United States to “learn more about the history of Angel Island and to observe this anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” This special program will include poetry readings that incorporate Hoisan-wa, the predominant dialect spoken by the first wave of immigrants who traveled to America from China in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Guest performances inspired by Angel Island’s historic immigration station will further illustrate the site’s continuing importance to understanding current events and envisioning better futures. 

National Angel Island Day program attendees will receive a commemorative zine created by artist Katie Quan of REALSOUL.

Schedule

  • 11 am – 3 pm, Family art making activity with the Last Hoisan Poets, Kimball Education Gallery
  • 11 am – 3 pm, History of Angel Island exhibition pop-up and Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation resource table, Wilsey Court
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm, The Last Hoisan Poets present “Echoes from Angel Island” with Del Sol Quartet, Koret Auditorium

About the Last Hoisan Poets

The Last Hoisan Poets trace their roots to China’s Toisan villages, home of the Hoisan-wa (a.k.a. Toisanese/Taishanese) Chinese dialect. They hold special poetry readings in English and Hoisan-wa, to pay homage to their mother language which is at risk of fading from collective memory.

Genny Lim is the recipient of two lifetime achievement literary awards from PEN Oakland and the city of Berkeley. She has also served as San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate and San Francisco Arts Commissioner. Lim’s award-winning play, Paper Angels, the first Asian American play to air on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985, has been performed throughout the US, Canada, and China. She is the author of five poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War, Paper Gods and Rebels, KRA!, La Morte Del Tempo, and co-author, with the late Him Mark Lai and Judy Yung, of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, winner of the American Book Award in 1980. 

Flo Oy Wong, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Asian American Women Artists Association, is an artist, poet, and educator. She is a recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts awards, and has been a visiting artist at various colleges and universities. She has also been featured in articles in multiple publications. Growing up in Oakland Chinatown, she spoke her family’s ancestral dialect, Hoisan-wa. In 2018, Flo published her art and poetry book, Dreaming of Glistening Pomelos, inspired by her childhood. Contemporary Asian Theater Scene presented Wong with their 2022 Image Hero Award.

Nellie Wong has published four books: Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park, The Death of Long Steam Lady, Stolen Moments, and Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Her poems and essays appear in numerous journals and anthologies, including This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, and excerpts from two poems have been permanently installed at public sites at the San Francisco Municipal Railway. A building at Oakland High School is named after her, she is co-featured in the documentary film, Mitsuye and Nellie Asian American Poets, and a poem of hers was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She traveled to China in the First American Women Writers Tour with Alice Walker, Tillie Olsen, and Paule Marshall, among others. She taught poetry writing at Mills College and women’s studies at the University of Minnesota, and is the recipient of the 2022 PEN Oakland/Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award.

About the Del Sol Quartet

Fascinated by the feedback loop between social change, technology, and artistic innovation, the San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet is a leading force in 21st-century chamber music. They believe that live music can, and should, happen anywhere — whether introducing Ben Johnston’s microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress or in a canyon cave, taking Aeryn Santillan’s gun-violence memorial to the streets of the Mission District, or collaborating with Huang Ruo and the anonymous Chinese poets who carved their words into the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station. Since 1992, Del Sol has commissioned and premiered thousands of new works.

Members of the Del Sol Quartet

Image courtesy of Del Sol Quartet

About the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation is the primary nonprofit partner working with California State Parks to preserve and promote the former US Immigration Station at Angel Island. From 1910 to 1940, over 500,000 immigrants from 80 different countries — mostly Asian and Pacific Island countries — were processed or detained there. For all immigrants, descendants, and families, Angel Island is a living landmark that symbolizes diverse experiences of detention, racism, and exclusion. The Foundation protects the historic site, stewards its histories and stories, promotes learning, and celebrates the new beginnings and immigrant contributions that define the strength of the United States. The Foundation inspires all to envision a more equitable and inclusive future; one that embodies how immigration makes nations better.

About REALSOUL

REALSOUL makes the past present and accessible through ready-made visual stories and lesson guides for educators. They work with community artists and historians to weave Asian American and other BIPOC experiences together in classrooms. Our work aims to remind people that we do not stand alone, but rather, stand on the shoulders of many ancestors. With each story we tell, we hope that students and teachers alike may find a safe space knowing that they are rooted in history and in themselves.

COVID-19 guidance 

Masking is strongly recommended, but no longer required for members of the public or employees while in the museum.

Ticket info

Free. Seating is limited and unassigned. Program tickets are distributed on a first-come first-served basis in front of the Koret Auditorium an hour before the program begins. This does not include admission to the museum. 

Contact info

Public Programs
publicprograms@famsf.org

415.750.7694

Presented in partnership with Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and UC Berkeley’s A Year on Angel Island.

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