a few months earlier i stared at my early Nov calendar and realised i had a 4-way clash:
- Hong Kong International Literary Festival 4-12 Nov
- Singapore Inside Out: Sydney 3-5 Nov
- Singapore Writers Festival 4-12 Nov
- Literature Across Frontiers - Sing Lit Station Translation Bootcamp 1-5 Nov
ok the last two were somewhat by design, as we had intended to stash our international and singaporean translators in a bungalow in malaysia for 5 days leading up to the festival so they could showcase their material in a reading at the festival (though it did mean they would miss half the first weekend of events)
- i wanted to attend HKILF to launch Twin Cities: an anthology of twin cinema from Singapore and Hong Kong, co-authored with the Empress of Cha, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming;
- i wanted to go for SGIO to put on an exhibition of prints from Ten Stories Below, my infinitely-work-in-progress graphic novel with Tim Wang and Adam Jay;
- i wanted to go for SWF because, well, SWF;
- and i wanted to go for the LAF-SLS bootcamp because SLS was hosting 4 european poet-translators alongside 4 southeast asian poet-translators, and alexandra buchler, the director of LAF was in town too, so i felt a bit of host responsibilities.
but the 4-way clash meant i had to make sub-optimal decisions for all:
- i would have to bail entirely on SGIO and count on the team to put up the exhibition.
- i would have to mostly bail on LAF-SLS and count on the SLS team to run the show, because i couldn't get any more leave (because of previous bali / vietnam exertions) but in concession to my sense of hostiness, i would drive up to malaysia on thursday night after work to hang out with them for dinner... and then drive back.
- i would attend the opening ceremony of SWF on friday, and a sprinkling of SWF events on sunday (more on this...)
- i would fly to hk first thing in the morning on friday, do the launch, do a reading at night, and fly back to sg first thing in the morning on saturday.
so here we go.
at this point i must pause and say that twin cities is really quite an amazing (toot our own horn) collection. you can read more about it at the minisite, or buy it from this webstore, but it's really a foundational collection that keys both on the connection between hong kong and singapore, and on this amazing form that yeow kai chai pioneered and david wong further developed, to some extent after ashbery. landmark did a bang-up job on the iconic cover and the squareish, spacious design leaving tons of breathing space for the lines. and i'm really happy we got an even representation of hk and singapore poets, with big dollops of the younger generation coming forward to show their formal chops.
i've fiddled with quite a few twin cinema myself over the past month, none of which are in this book, but if this goes on i might be able to put out my own twin cinema collection after a year or two...? i do want to work with tammy and cha again - let's see when the next collaboration will happen!
aaand i experienced another rush back to singapore - by planning myself on a 7am flight back. i thought i could check in in the city - but when i got there the scoot counter wasn't manned. i waited and waited and finally was informed that the 7am scoot flight to SG was the ONE FLIGHT that did not allow in-city check in. so i boarded the first airport express at... 6am, and hit the airport with 40 mins left. i reached the scoot counter with 30 mins, which was in a different terminal, only to be informed that the takeoff gate was IN A DIFFERENT TERMINAL and that i probably wasn't going to make it but they would still check me in as a courtesy. there was another guy in my situation just in front of me who was dithering a bit, but when i got my ticket i took off running with my book luggage clattering behind me and after a moment's hesitation he started running after me. i hit immigration at a full sprint, ducked into the diplomatic queue mouthing EMERGENCY EMERGENCY and they waved me through (i think i lost my tail here, he went to the normal queue), and i made it on the plane with minutes to spare. so that's two dramatic plane trips in two weeks - my dear heart.
and after all this... SWF started. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
a singaporean poet with an unhealthy addiction to metrical forms.
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- booksactually (9 yong siak st)
- online here (they deliver internationally). the buylinks are below:
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