Isolated Island As Allegory: Poems of Taiwan and Hong Kong in COVID-19

Yang Xiang

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Pandemic literary works have sprung up since the outbreak of COVID-19. Taiwanese poet Chen Ko-Hua’s Singing with a Mask and Hong Kong poet Ho Fuk Yan’s Love in the Time of Coronavirus emerged when the epidemic diaries from Mainland China attracted most readers. These two poetry collections not only enriched the Sinophone pandemic literature genres but also represented the islands’ voices. The coronavirus has transformed the “isolated island” from history and imagination to new normal for islanders. In this context, the two poets revisit “isolated island” from the perspective of geopolitics, urban landscapes, and everyday life to explore relationships between island and continent, people and island, and self and the other. Chen Ko-Hua’s “isolated island” mainly refers to a situation caused by indifference, discrimination, and hatred. Notably, he connects COVID-19 with HIV to discuss the identity politics of the disease from a gay’s view. Ho Fuk Yan’s poems focus on sociopolitical critique. Meanwhile, Ho’s poems are obsessed with Hong Kong. From mask to freedom of speech, quarantined body to wider and tighter government control, he renders “isolated island” an allegory for Hong Kong. Based on poems from Hong Kong and Taiwan during COVID-19, this paper researches how poets write “isolated island” and what it means with islandology, disease discourse, and biopolitics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2023
Event2023 AAS-in-Asia Conference - Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 24 Jun 202327 Jun 2023


Conference2023 AAS-in-Asia Conference
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address


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