what Singapore Literature has been doing really well at in the past few years is getting new voices into print. specifically, Math Paper Press has been utterly heroic in taking risks on dozens of new, unpublished poets since 2012. several of these have had no publishing history for the last decade (me), or are university students or younger (Jerrold Yam, Jollin Tan, Tan Lixin etc). and if you take a swing at the average age of poets published, Math Paper Press bats significantly lower than the other local presses, and I'd venture on a global level too.
so it's great that young and new voices get heard, and that it's more easy to get a first book out - but, at the same time, a lot of us aren't going through the same grinder that many of our predecessors had to go through - countless rejection letters from print and online journals, brutal criticism and development and review to even get a manuscript through the front door of the publisher... and the speed at which we can go from first draft manuscript to publication has really shot up, to the possible detriment of the quality of our work.
so... I'm throwing together a "manuscript bootcamp" (working title: Math Tutorial) to help the next generation out in putting together their first collection, with an eclectic administrative/sai kang warrior team: Pooja Nansi, Ann Ang and Teh Su Ching.
4-6 of the best young writers I can find will be thrown into a small room for 3D2N (venue TBC) from Feb 27 to Mar 1. their draft manuscripts will be sent out to a bunch of evil panellists/mentors/facilitators a month prior. during the actual camp, the evil crew will tear them apart in public workshop/private interview, and they'll have a chance to stand up for their own work, and/or just learn from a wide variety of experienced professionals / their talented peers.
most importantly, the workshop will focus not so much on the craft of putting together a poem - which all of them had better have to be even selected (!) - but on the art of putting together a collection. selection, sequencing, thematic development, sectioning, the nuances and tics that link poem to poem... nobody taught me that, and to be honest i'm really looking forward to be a fly on the wall for these sessions for my own learning. there'll be a panel of academics, one of publishers, one of editors, one of "pioneer generation" writers, and one of award-winning local writers, plus just a few of the young writers having it out with each other.
if you're (a) interested (b) haven't published a full collection yet, please send in your draft manuscript to my email by 9 Jan 2015.
there are just two criteria:
(1) QUANTITY: At least 30 poems, preferably 40, 50 or more. We're going to cut some.
(2) QUALITY: At least 3 pieces should have been published in local/international print/online anthologies/journals/prizes. Reference this in your submission. If you haven't worked at this enough, feel free to send in the manuscript, but it'll be taken into consideration.
a singaporean poet with an unhealthy addiction to forms.
all content copyright of joshua ip 2012