Sunday, November 27, 2011

Actually Books

Popped down to Books Actually in Tiong Bahru this afternoon. It's a sort of indie bookshop I've read about a few times but never got round to visiting. Rather glad I did today. It was worth it for the more than decent range of local lit on display - especially the poetry. Of course, since I've vowed not to buy any more real books but go virtual I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I resolved this by deciding to make an exception for local material and find a way of getting it shelved at work. But abstinence has become such a habit that I came away with only one publication (other than something else as a present for someone) this being the fourth edition of Ceriph, a sort of magazine of current writing - and very handsomely produced it is too. One of my ex-students, Daryl, has a couple of pieces in it and I am keen to see how they look in print.

By a sort of coincidence being able to see Daryl's stuff (a poem and short prose piece) in print has followed hard on the heels of spotting some poems by other talented young writers of my acquaintance in a volume entitled Roots and Wings - a collection of material generated through the Creative Arts Programme, a project for young writers undertaken annually by the Ministry of Education here. I was given the volume as a freebie following my contribution to a conference last week and have been thoroughly enjoying dipping into it. Oh, and I should say the same of the rather thinner (but equally rich) Though Roach Eyes, a collection of stories from kids in primary schools here based on the splendid notion of a cockroach in a hawker centre as narrator.

I'm always concerned about sounding patronising about students' creative work. I don't fake enthusiasm for what I read, ever, and in the case of students' work I've never had to. The stuff these guys are producing more than repays attention.

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