Friday, December 26, 2008

Gwee Li Sui's article "The Road People"

Li Sui was kind enough to send his Asiatic article to the poets he cited in it. The long scholarly discussion analyzes the relationship between some Singaporean poems and that country's restless urban flux, represented by the constant dilemma of roads. Having just motored from Santa Cruz back to San Francisco last night, I was especially taken by the contrast Li Sui alludes to between postmodernist visions of infinite roads, and Singapore's anxiety-ridden views of limits.

Poems by Lee Tzu Pheng, Boey Kim Cheng, Paul Tan, Felix Cheong, Alvin Pang and Aaron Lee predict, lament, visualize, and compose those limits. One of my early poems, "Going Home from Church on Bus 197," included in No Other City: the Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (2000), is part of Gwee's discussion.

Asiatic, a journal of English Language and Literature published by the International Islamic University of Malaysia, is worth looking into for itself. It publishes not only scholarly articles on Asian literatures in English, but also book reviews, interviews, and creative writings in the genres of poetry, fiction and drama. The contributors to Volume 2 Number 2 come from Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and the USA. Toh Hsien Min has a fine poem in it: "Tiong Bahru."

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