Spanning time, geographical locations and metaphysical boundaries, Traveler’s Tale and Other Poems is a personal journey that is at once unique and universal.
From a Singapore childhood, through national service, to a life lived abroad, these poems open a window to an existence viscerally connected to nature and the world at large. Like all journeys, there are twists and turns, triumphs and setbacks, and many unexpected, intimate moments.
The American spelling of “Traveler” offers a clue to the direction of the author’s journey. Yet, oftentimes, it is not the destination that matters; it is the act of getting there that counts.
The anima methodi is a 16-lined poem, comprising two stanzas of eight lines each. The structure has been quaintly called the twofold binate octave.
Two words or phrases are repeated anywhere within the first binate octave, and the same mirroring effect (with the same or different pair of texts) is done for the second binate octave. There remains continuity across both stanzas, with the last line of the first stanza moving seamlessly – across the stanza break as dovetail – into the first line of the second stanza. The stanza break may also locate the poem’s volta, as with the sonnet, for which, according to Phillis Levin, “the volta is the seat of its soul.”
The twofold form achieves some manner of dialectical play between both stanzas, along a theme or image or allegory or some other literary trope. In Jungian psychology, the anima is understood as an anthropomorphic archetype of the unconscious, the seed from which creativity manifests.
This anthology is co-edited by Eric Tinsay Valles and Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé.
Probably my most visible poem, Katong was part of the Singapore Memory Project and was blown up and displayed on the wall of The Arts House in early 2014. This was also a featured poem for the 2015 "Text in the City" initiative, a campaign by The Arts House to encourage Singaporeans to use poetry (and cell phones) to learn and text about different parts of the city.
b'haiku is a new poetic form I am currently experimenting with. Comprising of two twinned haiku, it is a slightly skewed mirror that I use to express and reflect ideas and notions that may not be possible with a solitary haiku.