why a book of poetry, and where on earth did it come from? there were kind of three elements that made it happen.
so i always wanted to grow up to be a writer. in the same sense that kids want to grow up to be astronauts and presidents and beauty queens.
but last year, i realised that i was reaching one of those arbitrary milestones (age 30) after which it would be increasingly difficult to claim that i had not "grown up" yet. so i decided it was about time i became a writer.
every two years, this competition called golden point awards comes along for new singapore writers. every two years, i faithfully get all fired up about writing for a week or so, dash out a few half-assed pieces and submit.
except this year i managed to squeak into second place. the money was nice. i was inspired to write more.
about 15 years ago, i was a survivor of the creative arts programme, a government eugenics scheme intended to breed hyper-intelligent mutants by locking 'talented writers' together in a camp for a week and exposing them to known aphrodisiacs.
i met a girl back then [skip extended narrative]. two years ago, she publishes her first poetry collection (!!) i finally acquire a copy in october last year, and beg for a signature like a fanboy. i don't see the inscription, but after i get home later that night, i realise it is just four words.
!!!!!!!!!!! THEN IT BECAME A MANHOOD ISSUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[...some time passes...]
however, my manhood fiddled around with itself and failed to become erect for quite a few months.
so last december, i forced myself to write a poem a day for 30 days. with uncharacteristic discipline, i actually managed to complete this little project.
under the time pressure, every single poem that emerged turned out to be a sonnet. short and somewhat formulaic, the sonnet form was perfect for bashing out thoughts and organising them in a very short germination period. also under the time pressure, i ended up writing about the first things that came to my mind - singapore, love, memories from the 90s...
halfway through the 30 days i joked to kenny, my publisher-to-be, that if i keep bashing out sonnets about singapore i would end up calling the collection sonnets from the singlish after elizabeth barrett browning's sonnets from the portugese. and... i did.
a few months of polishing and adding another 14 pieces to bring the total to 44 (again to match liz browning), plus a brilliant job by erna marliny on the cover and hey, childbirth.
a singaporean poet with an unhealthy addiction to forms.
all content copyright of joshua ip 2012