Showing posts from February, 2015

Manuscript Bootcamp

I was one of three poets (with Ng Yi-Sheng and Grace Chia) roped in to offer comments on the first manuscripts of 6 new Singapore poets.The session was part of a manuscript bootcamp organized by the indefatigable Joshua Ip. It was a pleasure to engage with the work of Amanda Chong, Daryl Lim, David Wong, Jennifer Anne Champion, Samuel Lee, and Tse Hao Guang, and to have an open and collegial discussion about poetry. The poets will receive much feedback from different people over the weekend, some of it conflicting, some of it confusing, but at the end of the day, we must be our own toughest critics, if we are going to write the kind of poetry that will stand the test of time. Thanks, Josh, for organizing this working group. Thanks too to Sarah for opening your home to us.

Free My Library

The National Book Development Council of Singapore has been energetically promoting last year’s winners and shortlistees of the Singapore Literature Prize. They have organized public panels and school events at which writers could speak of their work. By their initiative and effort, they are helping to advance the cause of local literature among the audience most of us writers would love most to reach.

When I agreed to participate in one such event on my visit to Singapore, I did not know that the panel would take place in the National Library. Many of you will remember that the National Library disgraced itself last year by removing three children’s books from the shelves and threatening to pulp them because they depict non-traditional (i.e. queer) families. Public furor, including a read-in, caused them to backtrack on their decision, whereupon they returned the books, not to the children’s, but to the adult section of the lending library. With a few other dissenting voices, I reje…

Lunar New Year Haiku

cat in the rain
birdsong on birdsong
on new year's day

Amazon Author

Roxanne Hoffman of Poets Wear Prada Press took a chance on me and published my very first book Payday Loans. I'm happy to learn from her this morning that the book has sold the most number of copies in the month of January on Amazon.

Book Log

I'm flying to Singapore tomorrow, so have no time to do more than log in the books read.

Vikram Chandra's Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty started slowly but increased in interest as I read on. The chapters on Indian aesthetics are particularly interesting, the chapters on computer history less so.

Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North: I don't see what's the fuss about this book. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize, but it seemed a rather conventional POW book to me. I may be influenced by having just reading Roberto Bolano's astounding 2666.

Another prize-winner, Jean Echenoz's I'm Gone won the Prix Goncourt. It's very ironic, very cool, very French. I don't like it much. I much prefer Michel Houellebecq, who has been described as a poisoned cherry.


we'll see one another again
when spring comes with its flowers
before you leave for Lahore


clear winter evening
a porthole mirror
my breath fogs up


when will my body
throw off this spell of cold?
more snow last night


under air pressure
the four-day snow
sparkles by the road


a sudden thump
in the middle of the night
a clump of snow?