Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Singaporean Poet

Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Singaporean Poet

Article excerpt

Late reply to a writer that asked, "What are our poets like?"

Let's begin with an elder who called our colonisers

"perfidious albion" and wrote like Yeats to outdo them.

The religious poets, both old and young, so full

of pity for everybody else unwilling to meet heaven.

The ones for whom obscurity is a metaphor

for the closet. The ones that shun the topic of selfhood

because their lives are boring; with no interest

in parsing individual suffering and its transcendence.

The lyrical flâneurs, the masters of irony

and detachment, the intellectuals with their love

of form and their ability to convey just about

everything and nothing at all.

Confessionals with their scars and unsteady hearts.

The multi-hyphenates on social media, spreading

the good word about their good work, their artistry

and their relevance, locally and abroad.

Champions of minority languages, proudly

indignant for taking second place to the lingua franca;

fanning the flame of their mother tongue

in the hearts and minds of the young. …

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