By Adeline New
On 5 Dec 2012, 7.30pm, a book launch was held at The Arts House for two anthologies of poems written by USP students, entitled This City is a Strange Song and Red Pulse.
This City is a Strange Song is a compilation of poems from the Creative Writing Programme conducted by Jay Bernard. As part of the Creative Writing Residency jointly organized by The Arts House and USP, Jay mentored a group of students over a semester, who in turn penned the poems published in this anthology.
Red Pulse is an anthology of selected poems from USP students who took Professor Shirley Geok-Lin Lim’s course ULT2298E: Chapbooks and Digital Poetry: Poetics Mash–Up in the first semester of AY 2012/2013. During the course, the students learnt more about the art of poetry, various debates and ideas regarding poetics, as well as different physical manifestations of poems such as chapbooks and digital poetry.
At the book launch, each poet read one of their own poems and participated in discussions in between the readings. With Dr Lo Mun Hou as a moderator, they touched on topics like the relevance of poetry in contemporary Singapore, sources of inspiration for poets and the place of sentimentality in poetry (as well as in art in general). The opportunity to appreciate the works of budding Singapore poets and have the mind stimulated by the discussions was accompanied by refreshments such as wine, cheese and cakes.
As first-year student Kevin Lam concluded: “I felt that the event was very enjoyable and enriching.” Indeed, the success of the event was a testament to the poets’ preceding hard work. As Kevin points out, “practice makes perfect – the reading would not have been as successful if we did not have regular opportunities in class, or during the tea reading sessions to practice.” With this in mind, the poets would like to thank Jay Bernard and Professor Shirley Geok-Lin Lim for the opportunities that they provided for these new poets to practice and hone their craft, Dr Lo Mun Hou for taking the time and effort to moderate the event, and The Arts House for their support in making the book launch possible.