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Singaporean Poetry

I’m not Singaporean, but I’ve fallen in love with the newer poems being published there in the last decade. Here, mostly for my reference, are the books I own. Most of these I bought out of faith and, well, cover art. A few aren’t so good, but all of them are interesting and in one way or another have helped me become even more fascinated with the literary culture of Singaporean writing in English.

This first batch came from my sister, when I knew nothing at all about what I wanted in Singapore poetry. It was a rather auspicious beginning:

  1. Last Boy by Ng Yi-sheng (Firstfruits, 2006) –> reviewed here
  2. Contouring by Heng Siok Tian (Landmark Books, 2004) –> savaged reviewed here
  3. Tilting Our Plates To Catch The Light by Cyril Wong (Firstfruits, 2008) –> reviewed here and here
  4. &Words: Poems Singapore And Beyond, edited by Edwin Thumboo (Ethos Books, 2010) –> reviewed here
These are the books I bought myself this July. With the exception of Peninsular, which I bought at Borders Parkway, all were bought from Books Actually:
  1. Sudden In Youth: New And Selected Poems by Felix Cheong (Ethos Books, 2009) –> reviewed here and here
  2. City Of Rain by Alvin Pang (Ethos Books, 2003/2010) –> reviewed here
  3. One Fierce Hour by Alfian Sa’at (Landmark Books, 1998/2004)
  4. A History Of Amnesia by Alfian Sa’at (Ethos Books, 2001/2008)
  5. Peninsular: Archipelagos And Other Islands by Daren Shiau (Ethos Books, 2000)
  6. Velouria by Daren Shiau (Firstfruits, 2007)
  7. Oneiros by Cyril Wong (Firstfruits Publications, 2010) –> reviewed here
  8. Secret Manta by Yeow Kai Chai (Landmark Books, 2001)
  9. dowhile by Yong Shu Hoong (Firstfruits Publications, 2002/2003)
All male, I know, and with the exception of Alfian Sa’at, Chinese. That will change. I just need to buy more.

EDIT: 31 VII 2012

Strange. Did I really not buy anything related to SG lit when I was there last November? Impossible!

Looking at my shelves, I now remember going all Math Paper Press, completing my issues of Ceriph and picking up the “mono-titular” anthology Coast (53 poems and short stories, all entitled “Coast”).

Continuing along my biannual family trips to SG, we were there again a few days ago, and while I picked up more US publications (Michael Palmer, Matthea Harvey, and Nick Lantz collections) than SG ones, I made sure to pass by Books Actually.

I left with two collections, one from 2012, the other from 1998, but both sharing a penchant for humor and received forms:

  1. Sonnets from the Singlish by Joshua Ip
  2. Who Wants to Buy a Book of Poems? by Gwee Li Sui

Still no sign of Pretend I’m Not Here. I should just order it.

One thought on “Singaporean Poetry

  1. Pingback: Now, Sing « Editions Of You

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