how does one explain the ajar a-festival?
i find myself flipping through my photo roll again. Watch this 20 second video.
random paper planes filled with printed questions being thrown around a hipster cafe while people read poetry in the background and a media projection appears in the background with no lights on.
does that describe a-festival better?
"the festival i enjoyed most in my entire career as a traveling writer". is that better? here, back to random photos.
another video, this one a workshop hosted by Greg Nissan and Jake Schneider, the editors of Berlin-based SAND journal - in which they challenge us to translate the untranslatable! including horrible monsters like Hamid Roslan's "This One Also Sonnet". (foreshadowing: Hamid's work is actually translated a few weeks later into 6 languages in the Sing Lit Station-Literature Across Frontiers Translation Bootcamp in Malaysia...)
at times it seems like the festival navigated every hipster venue in vietnam possible. not for them the traditional conference room or air-conditioned office space, or even the repurposed black box or school lecture hall. every single venue involved a mysterious street number which showed no signs of habitation from the main road, then a jaunt down an abandoned alley, a twist under an awning or a climb up a hidden stair past old men smoking or dripping rain, and then poof, magic hipster cafe on rooftop.
very much the heart of the festival - the amazing organising team of kaitlin rees, nha thuyen, quyen and hai yen. (and yen san, small boy). just in terms of the embrace of multi-disciplinary, inter-language madness that they consort in (while running a multi-city festival), they are so far ahead of singapore writers that i cannot even explain. what is confessionalism? what are our silly forms? these girls are really pushing the envelope of language as art as translation as movement as i do not know what is going on.
please invite me back please please please please.
a singaporean poet with an unhealthy addiction to metrical forms.
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