Monday, January 21, 2013

The Beginning of the End of Empty Talks

Oops...I did it again (okay, that's crappy): I forgot my yearly book/poetry review this year completely...till now, that is:

1) Yoko Ogawa's "The Housekeeper and the Professor" (It's really a short charming work.)
2) Alvin Pang's "Other Things and Other Poems" (One of a few local poet I was impressed with this term)
3) Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" (Such wit! Such an epic tale!)
4) Tomas Transtromer's "The Deleted World" (He is a master verse-weaver. But I've to admit that sometimes the translation doesn't really work here.)
5) W.Somerset Maugham's "The Painted Veil" (W.Somerset Maugham is a master story-teller. Period.)
6) Sylvia Plath's "Ariel" (I remember reading some of her earlier poems, and failing to grasp them. But this one was perfect.)
7) Boey Kim Cheng's "Clear Brightness" (his interview in ST just came out today, and I am still reading his book. He is, if I may say so, one of our best poet.)
8) Alfian Sa'at's "The Invisible Manuscript" (He is utterly underrated. I held on to his every word like my own breath.)

If I may, below is an excerpt from his "6 Notions of Intimacy":

2. (small undated voice)

Bored as hell you were.
In your school uniform, 
in that cubicle sitting on the lid
waiting for footsteps, penumbras,
tricklings, coughs. You
started reading the erotica
of vandals and between
"I never cum so much in my life"
and "It was so big and juicy"
you spotted, in faint ink:
"He never loved me."
You're still not sure
what made you think:
"Then I would." What made you
run out of that toilet haunted
by the idea that in all the times
you let a stranger unzip you
with his teeth or nervously
kiss your appendicitis scar
you had never allowed anyone
(this handwriting, untidy,
a left-hander?) come 
that close to you.

- Alfian Sa'at


For the record, I am pathetic: I wrote all of nil book review in 2012! Just couldn't put fingers to keys. Still thinking of writing something about Ann Ang's first collection of micro-fictions, "Bang My Car" (yes, the "Ang" family has a published writer among us! Not just a pompous blogger like me.), and reviewing "The Painted Veil". 

Hopefully this is not going to be just another year of empty talks. 

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