We kick off the new year with the final season of Sing Lit 101: How to Read a Singaporean Poem! This fourth season promises to be the quirkiest yet as well-loved poet and literary critic Gwee Li Sui delivers six ground-breaking lectures on Singapore’s English-language verse. He will turn the spotlight on a range of voices from the 1990s, some of which are lesser known than others in today’s literary arts landscape. This focus brings a radically fresh texture to a pivotal decade in Singaporean literature.
Six compelling poems will be dissected to examine their meaning and revelation about developments in society and culture. Gwee’s lectures are popularly accessible, passionate, and insightful. Regardless of your age or background, you will be charmed by his textual readings and drawn to the continuing relevance of verse.
Jan 7 — Lin Hsin Hsin's "A Woman's Place"
Jan 14 — Lydia Kwa's "Travelling Time"
Jan 21 — Grace Chia's "Made in Singapore: iCordelia"
Feb 4 — Toh Hsien Min's "Recovery"
Feb 11 — Aaron Lee's "Hum of the World"
Feb 18 — Felix Cheong's "What is It to Write"
Feb 18 — Panel Discussion: Poetry and Existence IV
Session 1: 7 Jan 2017 | Lin Hsin Hsin’s “A Woman’s Place”
A pioneer in digital media and a voluminous poet, Lin Hsin Hsin occupies a place of her own in the Singaporean poetry. Her poem A Woman’s Place shows not just her eccentric style and fascination with language, but also her deeply felt friction with social structures. Gwee will study this poem in relation to the changing roles of women in Singapore and Lin’s own artistic explorations.
Session 2: 14 Jan 2017 | Lydia Kwa’s “Travelling Time”
Singapore-born Lydia Kwa is a clinical psychologist and a writer based in Canada. Her emotionally charged poem Travelling Time relates the turmoil of someone who has uprooted herself and is confronting sudden loss. Gwee will examine the mental landscape of this work to talk about the emigrant’s experience as well as other aspects of Kwa’s poetry.
Session 3: 21 Jan 2017 | Grace Chia’s “Made in Singapore: iCordelia”
Made in Singapore: iCordelia is an intricate work of poetry and an intense piece of social commentary. It uses the twin framework of a Shakespearean tragedy and the condition of women to reveal the plight of Singaporeans today. Gwee will study Grace Chia’s poem to unfold its numerous layers of meaning and its approach to social malaise.
Session 4: 4 Feb 2017 | Toh Hsien Min’s “Recovery”
Recovery by Toh Hsien Min is a highly crafted and emotionally lucid poem that ruminates on love and loss. This poem manifests several of the key subjects often present in his works such as relationships, longing, and survival. Gwee will lead the analysis of this poem into an examination of the general poetry of urban lifestyle, while taking into consideration of Toh’s other works as well.
Session 5: 11 Feb 2017 | Aaron Lee’s “Hum of the World”
Aaron Lee’s powerful poem Hum of the World challenges its readers to reassess life with greater awareness. It surveys reality via sounds as a means to comment on the relationship between the modern condition and a deeper, older nature of the world. Gwee will take his study of this poem into a meditation on the human environment that we all have the power to change, as well as into an introduction to reflective verse.
Session 6: 18 Feb 2017 | Felix Cheong’s “What is It to Write?”
Who is a poet, and what is it that he or she is meant to do? Sooner or later, these questions haunt every poet, and Felix Cheong’s What is It to Write? offers one of the most impactful answers known in Singapore literature. Gwee will dissect this exceptional, complex work to unveil its multiple dimensions, deepening the existentialist inquiry into the purpose of art.
18 Feb 2017 | Panel Discussion: Poetry and Existence IV
Why do poets write? How does poetry grow with a poet as he or she ages and shapes the way he or she understands himself or herself, others, and the world? What can the reading of poetry do for us in our own lives? Join Gwee Li Sui as he concludes his four-year-long seminal series of lectures at The Arts House with a panel discussion featuring Felix Cheong and Lin Hsin Hsin. Listen and interact with these poets who have helped shape our cultural landscape as they share about their private living in art.
Admission to the panel discussion is free with registration.