It’s an especially literary week in Singapore, and only partly because the Singapore Writers Festival is under way. From local scribes to visiting slam champions to another edition of migrant worker poetry, there’s something for every verse-warrior. Here are the highlights.
Xpowerdreams: Wake Up Your Idea (Nov 3)
Spoken word collective The Sekaliwags takes the audience through four different futures of Singapore, including one where communal parenting is a thing, and another where a socialist sex kampong (yes, you read that right) spreads throughout the nation. Poets Nabilah Husna, Raksha Mahtani, Victoria Lim and Stephanie Dogfoot take the stage with their cheeky and inventive styles.
Speak: Featuring Luka Lesson (Nov 6)
While not part of the SWF, this month’s speak at Canvas features Greek spoken word poet Luka Lesson, the Australian Poetry Slam Champion of 2011. The line-up includes a roster of opening acts, including our dear once-interviewee Deborah Emmanuel. If alcohol helps you appreciate poetry, the Canvas Creative Hour is from 5pm-9pm, with house pours and half-pint draft beers at $8, and a bucket of five Budweisers for $25.
This 12 hour poetic variety show is not for those with a short attention span, and features nearly all the local writers you should know about. Curated by Huzir Sulaiman, 24 pieces of prose, poetry, plays and songs will be read and performed, making the usual observations about identity, happiness and desire (you know the drill). Look out for big(ish) names like Cyril Wong, Joel Tan and Meira Chand, among new voices and well-loved actress Oon Shu An.
Local poets and prose writers pay tribute to their favorite places in Singapore at this reading. We’re expecting references to food and lots of nostalgia at this one. Poets include Marc Nair and Jerrold Yam, while prose writers include Yeo Wei-Wei, who is the current NTU-NAC Writer in Residence and Audrey Chin, whose work was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014.
Among Us: Migrant Worker Poets (Nov 8)
Ever since the results of the Migrant Worker Poetry Competition were announced last year, the city has been paying attention to the voices of its unsung heroes. At this event, Bangladeshi poets who work in construction (Monir Ahmod, Kazi Shihab and Uddin Liton to name a few) will read out some of their verse, with Shivaji Das (who we also interviewed here) and AKM Mohsin moderating (and quite possibly translating from Bengali as well). Local celeb poet Alvin Pang will pick the winner.