English Program Faculty

Dr. Micheline M. Soong

Associate Professor, Department of English                                                                


Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles,  1999

M.A.,  Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles, 1991

B.A.,  Chinese,  University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa,  1987

Courses Frequently Taught:

WRI 1200 Research, Argument and Writing (Honors and Regular sections)

ENG 1500 Ways of Reading: Film, Literature and Culture

ENG 2510 World Literature I (Honors and Regular Sections)

ENG 2520 World Literature II (Honors and Regular Sections)

ENG 3134 Chinese Literature

ENG 3135 Japanese Literature

ENG 3223 Asian Literature

ENG 3226 Hawai‘i Writers

ENG 3252 20th Century American Women Writers of Color

ENG 4120 Seminar in Modernism


Introduction to Lee Tonouchi’s Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son: One Hawai‘i Okinawan Journal, a collection of poetry. Honolulu: Bess Press, 2011.

“Lee Tonouchi’s Pidgin Wars on Da Word,2002 Humanities Guide: 16-21 (published as part of 2002 Celebrating Teen Reading Festival, University of Hawai’i, Mānoa).

“Donna Tanigawa’s Yosegire Buton: Patchwork Piecing as an Alternative Narrative Strategy Through Local Japanese Eyes,” Bamboo Ridge Press, Vol. 77, (2002): 187-196.

Yosegire Buton, the “Crazy” Patchwork Quilt: An Alternative Narrative Strategy for Three Local Japanese Women Writers of Hawai‘i (doctoral dissertation, UCLA,1999).

“Gender, Sexuality, and ‘Woman’ in Li Ang’s The Butcher’s Wife,Feminism in Multi-cultural Literature, ed. Antonio Sobejano-Moran.Women’s Studies Series No. 13. Edwin Mellen Press (January 1997) :103-122.

Book Reviews

“Mending the Unmendable. Review of Distant Rain: A Conversation Between Jakuchō Setouchiand Tess Gallagher, Eastern Washington University Press, 2006. In The Pacific Rim Review of Books, (Issue 15, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2011): 11.

Review of Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan, Cheng & Tsui, 2009. http://www.chengtsui.com/store/products/another_kind_paradise_1

Review of Stephen Sumida’s And the View From the Shore, University of Washington Press, 1991. In Amerasia Journal, Vol. 20 (1994): 103-105.

Recent Awards and Grants

2004 HPU Golden Apple Award: Distinguished Teaching by a Full-time Faculty Member

2012 NEH HPU English Faculty Development Grant to develop the research topic of “Contextualizing the Examination of the Zen Buddhist Poetry of Gary Snyder and W. S. Merwin” in the summer of 2013.

Recent Presentations

2013 Presentation on Modern Japanese Literature at the UH Mānoa-East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program 2013 Summer Institute “Infusing Chinese and Japanese Religion, Art and Literature into the Undergraduate Curriculum” 

Greatest influence on me as a lifelong reader:

In the first grade, I was part of a small group of six or so bewildered youngsters who were instructed to march off one afternoon, after our post-lunch naptime, to a small utility closet off to the side of our main classroom, that was outfitted as a tiny classroom with a chalkboard and six to eight little desks and chairs sized for six-year-olds. There was a small metal stool in front of the desks upon which was perched a tiny, wizened old woman in a smartly pressed grey Catholic nun’s habit. She had soft, fleshy hands that appeared to be slightly gnarled, and her eyes appeared large and owlish due to the magnifying effect of the lenses of her glasses that rested on her large beak of a nose. In spite of that rather imposing first impression, Sr. Evelyn Farrell ended up being the kindest, gentlest and loveliest soul I have ever encountered. She read Frances Hodgson Burnett’sThe Secret Garden to me along with my compatriots for about half an hour at a time in the afternoons, for several weeks. I was so enchanted by the whole experience of leaving our large classroom, entering into the doorway of this tiny classroom where we’d be whisked away into the world of the heroine, Mary Lennox’s English countryside and her adventures as she negotiated the contested space of the secret garden she discovers.

...What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her finger found a hole in?  

It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to turn it, but it did turn. And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door that opened slowly – slowly. Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.  

         She was standing inside the secret garden.[1] — From author Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911)
             1Burnett, 1911, p. 74-75

Sr. Evelyn was a quietly dynamic reader with a faint, unaffected Irish brogue that made the characters come alive for us right there in the room. The naturalness of her delivery made me feel as if I had grown up all my life hearing her speak that way, and that I was coming home to an intimate familiarity with the sound her voice telling us this story. She had us hooked from the very first line, from the very first page. While we were eager to find out what was going to happen next each session and couldn’t wait to get to the end of the story, of course we were devastated to go back to our regular class programing to “See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane...” I’ve always wondered why we were chosen for this special privilege. It wasn’t until almost two decades later did I find out that Sr. Evelyn was the master first grade teacher and Miss Lamb, our first grade teacher, was teaching her very first class of students on her own under Sr. Evelyn’s supervision. The little group of students of which I was a member, was not special because we were unusually deserving of this treat—it was just that we were the students who did not come into first grade already knowing how to read. Sr. Evelyn knew that the best way to get children hooked on reading was to capture our imaginations and to read aloud to us a rich and meaningful story we could relate to in order to motivate us to read on our own.

Please read this lecture given by Neil Gaiman to the Reading Agency on October 14, 2013:http://readingagency.org.uk/news/blog/neil-gaiman-lecture-in-full.html, as he best articulates my feelings about the reason why we have an obligation to nurture a love of reading for all children, and to support the ongoing existence of libraries as spaces to access and read books and to develop one’s imagination and sense of empathy.