First Quarter Updates

Riot,  Lim Hak Tai

Riot, Lim Hak Tai

I’m still alive, and somewhat kicking, and pleased to advertise several events and readings I’m part of:

SingPoWriMo Reading, 16 March, 7-9pm, NUS, Tembusu College Reading Room
In promotion of the upcoming Singapore Poetry Writing Month, there will be readings by past contributors, from ISD members to newer faces, some of them actual NUS students.

Design Trails Talk, 19 March, 11.45am, PapyPress
The ace designers of Deeds of Light, Sarah and Schooling, talk about the thinking and process behind how they come up with book covers. I’m really just a calefare, but am super interested to hear about how design works in real life from the horse’s mouth. Also feat. David Wong (For the End Comes Reaching) and Leow Yangfa (I Will Survive).

Open House, 19 March, 4pm-late, Arts House
The Arts House holds its annual open house with programming managed by various workshop groups that use the space. ISD is presenting a multi-sensory poetryfest called Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously, with different stations representing the intersection of poetry with one of the five human senses. I’m managing the smell portion, and am working with a perfume company who is making scents tailored to my poetry. Having only really had experience collaborating along visual or sonic lines, this is a project I’m personally very excited about! In addition, ISD will be playing in the Word Olympics, which I’m told is like poetry x Taiwanese gameshow…

Giving Ground Launch, 24 March, 7pm, Books & Cranny
Theophilus Kwek, my co-conspirator for UnFree Verse, returns from Oxford to launch his third (third already??) collection of poetry. The cover’s by another friend of mine, artist Alvin Ong, and Theo’s very generously and interestingly invited a couple of other writers (me, Zhang Ruihe, Ruth Tang, and maybe Aaron Maniam) to read at his launch. In his words, “I want to make the event a celebration of people and places (rather than of myself!)”.

Left Right Launch, 6 April, 7pm, Objectifs
Geraldine Kang and Kenneth Tay launch a book with an intriguing premise—they’ve invited writers and artists to select and write about one photograph made by a Singapore photographer. My choice was one of Darren Soh’s photos from his While You Were Sleeping series, and naturally, I wrote a poem of it, which made its way into Deeds of Light. I’m really curious to see what the other contributors have come up with.

Singapore Art Book Fair Reading, 14 April, 7.45pm, venue TBC but I suspect it will be at MBS/ArtScience Museum
The reading I know least about, but details will be forthcoming I’m sure. I think I’m supposed to read a poem that’s related to science… In any case, the SABF is back from the 15th to the 17th of April, and although I don’t think I will have time to attend for work reasons, I’m happy to be a small part of it!

Apart from readings, I’m both excited and terrified to say that I’ve applied for the Vermont Studio Center residency, as well as the Fall residency of the International Writing Program at Iowa. I may not actually secure either opportunity, but the very process of applying has been a success in my book. I’ve had colleagues and friends give me invaluable advice about what to look out for and what I can expect, especially for Iowa, and I am grateful. Laurel, Larry, and Yu-Mei, thank you!

Finally, UnFree Verse is in full gear. Joshua, Theo and I have more or less settled on the poems for its first 2 sections (about 60 pieces written from 1935-1995), Angus Whitehead has come onboard as a foreword writer, and all the poets I’ve managed to reach out to have given us permission to republish their work. We’re hoping to have a full manuscript by April. In addition, the Hong Kong Institute of Education has a popular culture centre that’s inviting me to talk about the book in November. I hope to engineer some kind of book launch there closer to the date.

Until next time!

Hao Guang Tse