Local poetry for your reading list

Local poetry for your reading list

Book ahead

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Pooja Nansi,
Cyril Wong,
Deborah Emmanuel,
Divya Victor,
Jee Leong Koh

Here's our pick of the top five poetic reads to top your shelves

1. The Lover's Inventory

By: Cyril Wong, one of Singapore's leading poets with several poetry collections under his belt.

About: Launched last week, it's another one of his confessional love poetry — his prior release, After You, was another work that tugged at the heartstrings. This time, he collects a lover's inventory of objects, places, sensations and other memorabilia including a crucifix, a piece of underwear, and a body part.

2. When I Giggle In My Sleep

By: Deborah Emmanuel, a poet whose works have been heard at TEDx Singapore, The Singapore Writers Festival, and Singapore Poetry Slam. She recently held a public workshop at the Singapore National Poetry Festival last month. On top of that, she's in Wobology, a dub, reggae and electronic music outfit. 

About: Published this year, her first collection of works amass four years of material. Emmanuel uses imagery and rhythm on themes such as grief, love and violence. While some are confessional, her works also deal with social commentaries on capitalism, privilege and national identity.

3. Love Is An Empty Barstool

By: Pooja Nansi, a poet and author who was recently announced as one of the writers-in-residence at Nanyang Technological University. She also curates Speakeasy, a monthly spoken word and poetry event at Artistry. You can also catch a glimpse of her at this year's Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in October.

About: Described as "best read with a single malt", the title is Nansi at her best: Raw, lyrical and honest. "My lips are not cement and they cannot seal these wounds / but I am here, palms held open and I / love you." Wow.

4. Steep Tea

By: Jee Leong Koh, the same author behind Payday Loans. The title contained Koh's poem Come on, straight boy, and make gay love with me, whose reading was banned in 2006.

About: His first book to be published in the UK, Steep Tea is an introspective on his experiences as a queer writer.

5. Things To Do With Your Mouth

By: Divya Victor, an author, poet and assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University. She most recently performed at Speakeasy at Artistry.

About:  I am woman, hear me roar — or at least, fiercely attempt to confront our silenced voices. Be it 17th century witches or 19th century hysterics, Victor confronts the authorities banning their silenced words in a strong retaliation. 

For last week's #TopDrawerTuesday, click here