Published by Math Paper Press
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Available at BooksActually and Kinokuniya Orchard
Diving into the ambivalences and contradictions that are as characteristic of a family as her triumphs, Jerrold Yam’s rousing debut poetry collection is a reaction to the precarious tilt from adolescence to adulthood.
The poems—which invoke subjects as diverse as childbirth, celebrity culture and National Service— extend beyond a struggle for acceptance amid the transience of modern Singapore and into the universal territory of teenagehood. Growing up suggests an inexorable shift to adult sensibilites, but this transition is fraught with countervailing tensions of moving on, letting go and leaving behind. Yet, the collection ends with an optimism that is both agonising and courageous in its desperation for hope.
Alternately lyrical and experimental, confessional and incisive, Yam flexes his poetic versatility by combining ruthless introspection and hard-won catharsis. The ensuing redefinition of boundaries, between what must be left unsaid and what seeks reiteration, holds testimony to a voice that is unafraid of frankness—a voice ready to spearhead the next generation of Singaporean literature.
Jerrold Yam’s poems sparkle, yet underneath all that lustre is a fledgling spirit eager to build bridges out of uncertainty, loneliness and self-doubt, before arriving at a still point of equipoise and wonder.
– Cyril Wong, winner of the Singapore Literature Prize
Chasing Curtained Suns offers poems that show through deft sleight of the poet’s hand that sliver of light in the mind’s eye with which it carefully considers particular things in its world … And we recognize, as the poet does, that the well-worn ways can sometimes glow; and that silence, sweet twin of language, renews itself through poetry well-wrought.
– Marjorie Evasco, winner of the S.E.A. Write Award
… His verse reads as semi-conscious as water and yet fully awake to the subtle aspects of form and experiment. A promising collection, Chasing Curtained Suns opens Yam’s spry creative journey …
– Gwee Li Sui, literary critic