Posts tagged poetry
Literary Updates (March - April)

I keep telling myself that I will actually make use of my existing blog since I do pay Squarepsace money for this space and I actually should be making use of it. At one point I was even considering doing a cooking series - on my Instagram I frequently post photos of my meal preps and then make notes on how to improve it the next time I cook it and figured it would not hurt to do more elaborate details about each recipe - and then never got round to doing it. Tbh I don’t even have much about my life to update because nothing very much has happened. 

Stock image of blank pages because THIS IS MY LIFE

Stock image of blank pages because THIS IS MY LIFE

So LITERARY TYPE UPDATES

Conducted my first writing workshop! 

In March, I conducted a workshop for the Singapore Young Writer’s Lab for Singapore Book Council called ‘Reinterpreting Asian Mythology’. Most of my teaching experience comes from being a debate coach, so I warned the kids before the class started that I was probably going to sound like a drill instructor (I probably did). Reviews from the kids after the class was really good though, and made me think a lot about mythology in Singapore and how our ghost stores - those that take place in the army, girls schools, HDB void decks - have a place in that. 

I took part in SingPoWriMo 2019

I’ve been doing Singapore Poetry Writing Month since I accidentally stumbled on the Facebook group in 2014, where the challenge is to write one poem a day. Shockingly, last year (and also the year I started corporate life) was my best performance where I wrote 26/30 poems. I was hoping to repeat that success this year, but only ended up with 15/30. Still, it was a good month and I experimented a little with rhyme and form, which I never thought I would because I usually just free verse everything. Was also trying to go for a more obsessive kind of persona voice for a couple of poems and mostly succeeded. You can find the round up post for all my poems here and I even managed to write the poem about ghost stories in Singapore I was previously talking about - this one focusing on school stories. 

I finally finished a prose piece

I never thought that I would end up writing poetry - I’m pretty sure I was convinced that poetry was death when I was studying for my O levels. Thank goodness I had a lovely lit department in Junior College to beat that notion out of me, and then the lack of time meant I stopped writing short stories and fan fiction and wrote a lot of poetry (because shorter) but it also means that I have hardly ever gone back to short story writing since. I’ve had one short story published in LONTAR #10, I did this bizarre play on the Chinese tradition of scholars falling in love with animal spirits last year that has yet to be accepted in any journal and probably needs a lot more editing, but beyond that I have hardly touched prose.

Then I read this Twitter thread (please read it if you like the new Star Wars trilogy, and especially if you are a Reylo shipper) and somehow ended up writing this. It is by no means perfect and I really am unpracticed with dealing with the second halves of stories and ending things properly - probably because I have very rarely gotten to the ending of a story in years - so I have to work on pacing still. But yes it is at least done and I hope will at least kick me to continue writing some kind of prose on a regular basis, even if it is fic. 

I also forgot how sweet the fanfiction community can be - like yes leave all the kudos and sweet comments yesssss. 

Upcoming things in May

BooksActually will be holding Math Paper Press Day at the bookstore on 25 May. Event page and programme details aren’t out yet but keep your eyes peeled on this!

I’ll also be a featured writer and doing some readings at a book launch on 28 May for Topaz Winters’ book ‘Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing’. (Event page here) I’ve already read a PDF version of it but I’m so excited to get my hands on a physical copy of the book and really sink into the poems!

 In my next post I really want to talk (read: rave incoherently) about the games I have been playing (basically Hollow Knight and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) and superb storytelling and visuals and music and can all my friends who game please play these two things so we can talk about them? Please? 

Matriphagy

i have slowly been consuming
the last traces of my mother

i hold the gurgling maw
of the vacuum as it swallows

tawny strands of hair &
dust on hardwood floor

today i read that household
dust is mostly skin

as if to say outside dust
is stranger or more spectacular

as if to say i am watching
this monster tear into

my mother again & again
& calling it “being productive”

my teeth wearing themselves
down on leftovers: rice & soup & barley

picturing my mother stooped
over the stove bloodletting

when she was here
i couldn’t wait for her to go

now i sit alone in the freezer
& eat everything

without breathing
oh i eat it all

- Ang Shuang, Asian American Writer’s Workshop

Again, Let Me Tell You What I Know About Trust

    - not a damn thing. So let me tell you what I know
about forgiveness - this joke can go on & on, see?
I guess I’m trying to understand what makes a man 
carry guilt the same way he would a bat. How my father
after being confronted about cheating
slapped my mother, came to my room, threw my sleeping body
over his shoulder, & drove off. Who wouldn’t 
beg for a story like this? A story to point & run toward
when asked to explain every decision you’ve ever made 
regarding love. A story to blame when your hands rush
toward the exit. Till this day every headlight is a lullaby.
Imagine: waking up, but this time it isn’t your father
in the driver’s seat, but a man who holds your head
to his lap until your breath is a song pulled from his skin
how just like your father, even when you begged
wouldn’t take you home, not until he was ready to be alone. 

-Hieu Minh Nguyen

Theories About the Universe

I am trying to see things in perspective.
My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter
chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot
have this, because chocolate makes dogs
very sick. My dog does not understand this.
She pouts and wraps herself around my leg
like a scarf and purrs and tries to convince me
to give her just a tiny bit. When I do not give in,
she eventually gives up and lays in the corner,
under the piano, drooping and sad. I hope the
universe has my best interest in mind like I have
my dog’s. When I want something with my whole
being, and the universe withholds it from me,
I hope the universe thinks to herself: "Silly girl.
She thinks this is what she wants, but she
does not understand how it will hurt."

- Blythe Baird, “Theories About the Universe”