Poetry Shortlist

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A Gathering of Themes

A Gathering of Themes
Edwin Thumboo

A Gathering of Themes
Ethos Books
2018
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A Gathering of Themes

This collection contains literary pioneer Prof Edwin Thumboo’s latest works. Some highlights include the poems based on biblical characters, something very close to his heart in recent years. Some evergreen works include A poet reading to make this the most collectible set of his published works.

The sections are named: Chin (for his wife), Tribes, Togetherness, Cultures, I to I and By Quiet Waters and Words.

Edwin Thumboo

Author
Edwin Thumboo

Edwin Thumboo is Emeritus Professor and Professorial Fellow at the National University of Singapore, where he was the first Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The awards he has received include the National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Award for Poetry, the South East Asian Write Award, Singapore’s Cultural Medallion, the ASEAN Cultural and Communication Award in Literature, the Raja Rao Award and Singapore’s Meritorious Service Medal. Poetry Festival Singapore (2015) is his most recent start‐up.

An Epic of Durable Departures

An Epic of Durable Departures
Jason Wee

An Epic of Durable Departures
Math Paper Press
2018
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An Epic of Durable Departures

This new poetry collection records a friendship between two artists formed in the shadow of illness and mortality. Using the renga and haiku as departure points, Wee wrestles with the limits of art and of documentation even as he summons werewolves, ghosts, and other myths. Faced with the inadequacies of witnessing, An Epic of Durable Departures moves towards the living in reverse time, opening with obituaries and ending with a renewed beginning.

Jason Wee

Author
Jason Wee

Jason Wee is an artist and a writer with two collections of poetry, An Epic of Durable Departures (2018) and The Monsters Between Us (2013). Jason edited Boring Donkey Songs (2017) by the late Lee Wen. His writings are in several art publications, including Love Gathers All, Lines Spark Code and Singapore Eye. His practice straddles architecture, drawing, sculpture and photography. He co-edits the poetry journal Softblow and founded the nonprofit artist-library and residency space Grey Projects in Tiong Bahru.

Gaze Back

Gaze Back
Marylyn Tan

Gaze Back
Ethos Books
2018
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Winner of Poetry in English

Gaze Back

What do we expect of an unapologetically female author? What do we expect of consuming art? Should a work be easy and safe?

Marylyn’s debut volume, Gaze Back, complicates femininity, queerness, and the occult. The feminine grotesque subverts restrictions placed upon the feminine body, the occultic counterpoint to organised religion a means of empowering the marginalised.

Marylyn Tan

Author
Marylyn Tan

Marylyn Tan is a linguistics graduate, poet, and artist interested in conditions of alienation and marginalisation. She has performed at the Singapore Biennale, the Singapore Writers Festival, SPEAK., and she has also been featured in various print anthologies, such as Rollercoasters and Bedsheets, A Luxury We Must Afford and Inheritance | The Anthology. Gaze Back is her first published book.

parsetreeforestfire

parsetreeforestfire
Hamid Roslan

parsetreeforestfire
Ethos Books
2019
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parsetreeforestfire

parsetreeforestfire is a bilingual book of poetry with Singlish occupying one side of the book, and English on the other. Conventionally such a format allows the reader to learn a new language, but it remains to be seen if translation has successfully occurred, or if the book teaches readers to speak either language. parsetreeforestfire is the product of scrutiny on the languages that poetry is written in.

Hamid Roslan

Author
Hamid Roslan

Hamid Roslan’s work may be found in The Volta, Asymptote, and the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, among others.

Right of the Soil

Right of the Soil
Yong Shu Hoong

Right of the Soil
Ethos Books
2018
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Right of the Soil

The Latin phrase jus soli is an unconditional right to citizenship for a person born within a country. Singapore’s nationality law is based on jus sanguinis, where citizenship is determined by one’s parentage.

Yong Shu Hoong contemplates how individuals are bound to the land where they first set foot, with poems addressing belongingness and birthright by exploring the four fundamental elements.

Beyond our earthly lives, is it soil – or another element or dimension – that asserts its right to claim us?  

Yong Shu Hoong

Author
Yong Shu Hoong

Yong Shu Hoong authored five poetry collections, including Frottage (2005) and The Viewing Party (2013), which both won the Singapore Literature Prize. His writing has been published in literary journals like Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong), and anthologies like Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008).

Yong teaches part-time at Republic Polytechnic and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He was writer-in-residence at NTU and was the Presidential International Visiting Scholar at Wheelock College.