EFW 2015 Cover 18 Aug 2015 Front OnlyWhat happens when art meets literature? At the Singapore Writers Festival, Eye/Feel/Write will launch its second instalment, with the publication of a beautiful anthology, titled “Eye/Feel/Write: Experiments in Ekphrasis”, as well as curated walking tours at The National Gallery.

A special commission by the National Arts Council, Eye/Feel/Write is a two-year ekphrastic project that has invited distinguished writers in Singapore to pen texts inspired by artworks exhibited at museums here. In the first year, ten writers — Alvin Pang, Edwin Thumboo, Isa Kamari, Jollin Tan, Joshua Ip, Ovidia Yu, Ramanathan Vairavan, Robin Hemley, Tan Chee Lay, and Yeow Kai Chai — created texts that dialogued with artworks at Singapore Art Museum’s Medium at Large exhibit. Ten poems were printed on broadsides as limited edition collectibles, housed in blank journals with an invitation to readers to engage in their own ekphrastic experiments.

Desmond Kon
Desmond Kon

Fresh from his double win at this year’s Beverly Hills International Book Awards, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has been named a silver medalist at The 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY). This win, in the Multicultural Fiction category, is for his novel, Singular Acts of Endearment (Squircle Line Press & Grey Sparrow Press), which was launched at last year’s Singapore Writers Festival. Monona Wali’s My Blue Skin Lover (Blue Jay Ink) takes the gold, while Chantel Acevedo’s A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press) walks away with the bronze.

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Jerrold Yam, poet, Singapore
Jerrold Yam, poet, Singapore

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

It’s my attempt to unknot distractions and find intrinsic value.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

For Intruder (Ethos Books, 2014) to intrude into bookshelves and have readers conclude for themselves.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A one-night stand that unexpectedly leads to a serious relationship: brevity, tactility, emotion, surprise, continuity.

1

Celebration

Then I feel myself pressed on the gnarly woodwork
of the restaurant wall, inching away
from our table where friends decipher

steak with hushed incisions. Third birthday lunch
of the week, the gelatinous air
chastising me, and I cannot understand

the script of hands in perpetual
movement as if to heed some
divine calling, coaxing knives

out of napkins as a mother
rouses her baby. Six people
together is enough cause for mirth.

How can it amount to anything else? Bowls
wait to be used. Lamps angle overhead
like rumours. By candlelight

I am unable to discern the names
of my friends or tell them apart.
In time, applause will weaken

to footsteps, arms pining after jackets with
a lover’s ferocity, our silhouettes untouched
by squeaks and stains, the aftermath.