Alumna Belle Yang contributes cover art to second issue of Catamaran

cover of Catamaran Literary Magazine spring issue
UCSC alumna Belle Yang
UCSC alumna Belle Yang
“Kite”--a 1997 painting by UC Santa Cruz alumna Belle Yang—is the featured art on the cover of the just released Spring 2013 issue of Catamaran Literary Reader.

This marks the second issue of the new quarterly magazine, based in the Tannery Arts Center in downtown Santa Cruz, which includes a multitude of UCSC alumni and faculty as contributing writers, artists, and staff.

The spring issue features poems from renowned American poet Gary Snyder, plus a personal piece about him from his longtime publisher, Jack Shoemaker.

It also includes fiction from award-winning author Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club), photos from Dorothea Lange of Japanese internee detainees, and an interview with Jeanne Houston, co-author of the American classic Farewell to Manzanar with her husband, James D. Houston.

UCSC contributions include a short story from emeritus professor of literature Paul Skenazy titled “Between the Rows,” and poetry from alumnus Dane Cervine--chief of childrens’ mental health for Santa Cruz County, whose new book, How Therapists Dance, is set to be published later this year.

There’s also images from Katie Cater, who studied photography at UCSC; four paintings by artist Linda Christensen, who received her art education at UCSC; and work from the late influential poet, painter, publisher, and UCSC lecturer emeritus in creative writing, George Hitchcock.

In addition to her cover art, Belle Yang also contributes several other paintings, as well as an essay titled "All Things Have Roots and Branches: Chinese Stories Planted in the Rich Soil of Salinas Bear Fruit."

Born in Taiwan, Yang lived in Japan before emigrating to the United States with her family at age seven--eventually accepting a Regents Scholarship to attend UC Santa Cruz in the late 1970s.

Although she earned a B.A. in biology, her life was changed forever when she spent her junior year abroad studying in Scotland. While traveling through Spain, Yang realized that she had fallen in love with the art, architecture, museums, and galleries of Europe.

Yang went on to study at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, as well as the Institute of Traditional Chinese Painting in Beijing.

Her first book, Baba: A Return to China Upon My Father’s Shoulders, was published in 1994 and widely acclaimed across the country.

That book was used in a freshman core course at UCSC’s Porter College and also turned into a play by UCSC theater arts professor Kathy Foley. Called The Flight of the Monkey King, the play was staged on campus in 1994.

Yang’s most recent work is the graphic memoir Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale. She is also the subject of a PBS documentary, My Name is Belle.

As author Maxine Hong Kingston once noted: "In Belle Yang we have our Isaac Bashevis Singer and Marc Chagall--all in one bright new talent.”