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Multicultural Literature

Good Luck Gold: And Other Poems

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The Thief Lord
This Same Sky
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My Name is Maria Isabel
Pablo's Tree
The Great Ball Game
Buffalo Woman
Morning Girl
The Mud Pony: A Traditional Skidi Pawnee Tale
Jingle Dancer
The Name Jar
Tree of Cranes
Good Luck Gold: And Other Poems
The Magic Paintbrush
Habibi
Ella Enchanted
Silent Lotus
Real Heroes

Wong, Janet S.  1994.  Good luck gold: And other poems.  New
     York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.  ISBN: 0689506171.
 

 

          This simple and honest book is a collection of 42 poems selected by Janet Wong from a notebook of poetry she wrote over a period of time.  Deciding which poems to incorporate was special and she says she chose the title poem Good Luck Gold because she feels lucky to be poet.  Wong further explains that “luck plays an important role in traditional Chinese culture” (Janet S. Wong).

          Wong grew up in Los Angeles with a Chinese immigrant father and Korean immigrant mother.  Her poetry reflects many things including her deep ties with her family, her Asian heritage, and discrimination she felt both blatant and hushed.  Her voice rings clear in such poems as Math when she says, “Asians are quiet Asians like numbers. Me, I like to shout” (Wong).  Her poem called Waiting at the Railroad Café talks about being ignored at a restaurant. Dad insists on staying as part of her education but finally the she leads him from the restaurant saying, “We’re not equal. We’re better.”

          Other poems introduce customs, foods, and celebrations.  The reader can picture ducks hanging upside down in grocery store windows, from the poem Deli Circus or almost smell the cart of dim sum as it rolls by, in the poem Dim Sum.  Wong addresses the old world custom of foot binding in the poem Bound Feet in very graphic imagery, “soaked in salt for softer bones, rolled and …tied in packages of tender meat”.

          Still other poems talk about the family.  In Losing Face, she wins an art contest and doesn’t want to disappoint her mother and tell her she traced the picture.  Wong speaks sadly about the grandmother she doesn’t recognize with all the makeup covering her face in the poem, Funeral.

          Short but powerful, these poems open up the world to Wong’s Asian background from her Asian American upbringing and give readers an understanding about what it is like to be from a different culture and subjected to some form of prejudice.  It will allow insights into a different cultural background yet permit readers to relate with many of the same issues from their own experiences.  This book received the Claremont Stone Center Recognition of Merit Award (Janet S. Wong).

Janet S. Wong.  1999.  Janet's books: Good luck gold.  Available from
     http://www.janetwong.com/books/goodluckgold.cfm.  Accessed 20 July 04.