FEED THE POETS
Marc Daniel Nair
from the title poem of the show co-written by the authors:
ALL: feed the poets feed the poets
C: we sit in cages like red-arsed primates. unfed for a week. starved of good applause, seeking the fresh meat of a captive audience.
M: we are stuck in the bars of these lines
P: the parameters of this notebook
M: that writing pad
P: this cocktail napkin
M: that old laundry receipt
P: and it’s bloody maldives flickering inches from this hand. it is beautiful. and i am ridiculing your academic proficiency behind a finger.
Feed the Poets is staged poetry theatre from Singapore. This show was initially performed as a one-hour event staged for the Singapore Writers Festival 2007 in conjunction with the launch of its performance poetry authors’ new collections of poems. It explores human themes in a Singapore context with ensemble pieces and solo performances, along with live and recorded music. It also showcases poetry from the poets 3 collections.
CMS: ‘The Laughing Buddha Cab Company’ – taxi and epic travel poems set in four countries, both east and west. It is writing by an Australian settled in Singapore, informed by unique Asian oral traditions and cultural focus.
Pooja Nansi: ‘Stiletto Scars’ – poems of love, relationships, sexual politics and cultural identity with an Singapore-Indian flavour.
Marc Daniel Nair: ‘Along the Yellow Line’ : probing and polymath poems about mixed racial identity, wide social commentary laced with Asian flavoured wit and satire.’
These three poets are the leading exponents of the performance poetry movement in Singapore and their books also show they are highly capable and satisfying writers for the page. All three poets have extensive stage experience and are full-time teachers of literature and performance in Singapore.
Resumes in Brief:
Chris Mooney-Singh (b.1956) Of Australian-Irish descent, Mooney-Singh adopted Sikhism
in 1989. He has published two poetry joint collections, two chapbooks, co-edited (with K.F.
Pearson) a poetry anthology, ‘The Penguin Book of Christmas Poems’, and has three
spoken word CDs, the latest being Living in the Land of the Durian Eaters’. His latest collection ‘The Laughing Buddha Cab Company’ was launched at the Singapore Writers Festival (2007). He is currently working on his next collection ʻThe Bearded Chameleonʼ and a verse novel ʻForeign Madam and the White Yogiʼ both due out in 2009. Mooney-Singh has also written verse plays and short 10 minute plays, two of which were produced for Short +Sweet, Singapore 2008 and 2009. He was a guest at the Austin International Poetry Festival (2003), the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival (2004) and the Kuala Lumpur International Literary Festival (2007). He is also a noted performance poet and the founder of Poetry Slam in Singapore and Malaysia. He is the co-founder and director of Word Forward, a full-time literary arts company in Singapore whose poetry performances have played for more than 60,000 students and adults since 2003
Pooja Nansi was born in 1981 in Gujarat, India and came to Singapore with her parents at the age of one and a half. She was a permanent resident until 2005 when she took on citizenship. She studied in Katong Convent Secondary and has completed her Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Philosophy and an Honours in Literature at the National University of Singapore in 2004 and is currently a teacher of English Literature at a local Junior College. A regular performer and at the Singapore Poetry Slam, she has also performed at various other literary festivals and events such as the KL Literature Festival in 2007, SubTEXT as well as the National University of Singapore’s Arts Festival. Performance poetry provides her the platform to merge two of her passions – drama and writing. Her favourite poets range from W.B.Yeats, Sylvia Plath and e.e.cummings to Edward Lear and Dorothy Parker. She states her cause as “proving poetry relevant ” and thinks, like one of her favourite performance poets that “This poetry is not afraid of going in a book, still this poetry needs ears to hear it and eyes to have a look. In 2008, she was sponsored by the British Council to tour UK and perform her work alongside other Asian and British performance poets. Her second collection will be released in 2009.
Marc Daniel Nair, born in Singapore in 1981 has a BA (Honours) from the National University of Singapore and now works as a teacher at a Junior College. Although he has written poetry from an early age, he rose to prominence through the Singapore Poetry Slam™ and since 2003 he has been one of its leading figures, winning countless numbers of events. He was a guest at the 2007 Kuala Lumpur Literary Arts Festival and also won the first Singapore-Malaysia Poetry Slam™ in March 2007. He was also a guest performer at the 2007 Singapore Writers Festival. In addition, he has shared his poetry with wide-ranging audiences at The Esplanade, The Arts House and at many secondary schools where he has also facilitated poetry writing and performance workshops. His 2nd collection of poems (Light from Another Land) is due out in 2009 contains travel poems from Bali, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.
Critics comments on the authors’ books:
The Laughing Buddha Cab Company
Chris Mooney-Singh’s collection represents an important contribution to the growing corpus of literature written by those we might describe as Singapore’s new residents. As a whole the many poems here collected reveal a sensibility rich in its allusions and vital in its capacity to engage readers. I am deeply moved by the sheer intimacy of the last section and impressed by the energy of the entire volume – Chris Mooney-Singh’s is a voice to be heard and engaged with…
Poet, Author and Professor Kirpal Singh, Singapore Management University
From original vantage-points (for example a cab, a cabman), overseas travel and his apartment, these poems construct personas that empower Mooney-Singh to fuse the personal and the social with insight, humour and poignance. Technically skilful, he deftly varies his line length to suit his varied material. A substantial, satisfying collection.
Robert Yeo, Singapore Poet and Playwright
As a frequent cab rider myself in New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., I can recognize in Chris Mooney-Singh’s poems the extraordinary range of personalities of taxi drivers. With rare insight and sensitivity he has created an entertaining and enlightening collection which is sure to delight his readers.
Christopher T. George, Editor, Loch Raven Review (USA)
Chris Mooney-Singh comes from an ancient line of jokester poets. He match-makes laughter with the getting of wisdom, and he sways us with exotic song.
K.F. Pearson, Poet and Publisher, Black Pepper (Australia)
“There aren’t enough poets like Pooja Nansi – smart, sexy and unashamed, she brings a much-needed shot of passion into Singapore literature.”
“At their best, Nansi’s poems are steely, smart-mouthed, and shot straight from the heart.”
‘Along the Yellow Line’:
Marc Daniel Nair’s ‘Along the Yellow Line does indeed walk right down the middle of the road between identity and society, faith and science, and love and fear. His acute eye for details and a polygot’s ear evokes people and places -from his native Singapore, to Bali to Vietnam and back. He does not shy away from addressing timely themes of ethnicity, war and the nature of god with an immediacy that “sears the miracle of metaphor in the brain.” Nair is constantly in transit down the late-night streets into the uncharted psyches of fellow travellers, himself included. He helps “find answers for the map folded in our hearts.’ Heed his directions, enjoy the journey.”
Ray McNiece author of 6 poetry collections and editor of American Zen: a gathering of poets.
Marc Daniel Nair presents a multi-faceted first collection. Through his poems “we all become travellers”, navigating the boundries and divisions between countries, between national identities, between humour and poignant observation; between page poetics – experiments in form – and poems that demand to be voiced aloud.
Jacob.Sam La Rose, Poet and literature-in-education consultant (UK)