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A Luxury We Cannot Afford: An Anthology of Singapore Poetry
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A Luxury We Cannot Afford: An Anthology of Singapore Poetry

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Singapore is a country of many invented, transplanted, or self-made myths and fables, but one looms above them all. 1969 marks the famous declaration of the myth: "Poetry is a luxury we cannot afford."

As our island nation approaches its 50th anniversary wielding extraordinary wealth and prosperity, it is timely to review the narrative that has shepherded us through the pas
Paperback, First, 160 pages
Published November 2014 by Math Paper Press

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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  75 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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David Kellogg
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A superb, and superbly clever, anthology of poetry from Singapore, all in response to the statement that poetry is "a luxury we cannot afford" as made by Singapore's founding father back in the 1960s. The poems themselves range widely in style and approach, and the anthology groups them into sets roughly around the city, the life of that nameless, though fully known, founding father, and the statement "poetry is a luxury we cannot afford" itself. The collection is necessarily uneven in content, ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, singapore
I stumbled across this book by accident in a little shop in Joo Chiat the other day. What a find! It is an anthology of poems published last year, only months before the death of Lee Kuan Yew, reflecting on the nature and complexity of the man who called poetry a luxury Singapore could not afford. A fascinating honest daring moving creative mixture of respect and critique directed toward the man and his legacy. It marks a moment in history and is the sort of anthology you can pick up and dip int ...more
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One book with varying views that offer different perspectives that truly got to me - both the use of the language of the poets contributing to this anthology, and also what each of these poems meant.
Kudos to The Man who inspired these wonderful works.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of poems in honour of Singapore's founding father who once famously said that poetry was 'a luxury we cannot afford' in building our new nation.
How times have changed with poetry books being published each and every year now, mostly by local publisher Math Paper Press, which has put this beautiful volume together.
All on Lee Kuan Yew. Poets recount historical events; go into his mind; tell of his love of his wife, his country; his pain?; his regrets?. We can only speculate.
So many be
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
An impressive anthology of poetry about The Man, that displays the vast gamut of Singaporean literary voices in plain sight, showing over and over how poetry is, in the words of Norashiqin Toh, 'not luxurious. It is simply necessary.'

[Review 1 - 16/05/17.]
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Curiosity level: Beautiful, honest, and enchanting

"I know. What you meant to say is: we cannot afford poetry as a luxury, for poetry is not luxurious. It is simply necessary." - p.33

In this anthology of poems, 56 of our country's best poets dedicate poems to "The Man". He had raised a country from the ashes to beauty - but there were things that even great men like him can't never get away with saying. One was his (in)famous maxim: "Poetry is a luxury we cannot afford".

Spanning 65 poems, these
Judith Huang
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
One of the most coherent anthologies out there! Probably all thanks to one man...
jin jie
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Perspectives are essential in life, and I had the opportunity to read this after The Man has passed on. This gave me a wonderful chance to read the anthology in retrospect, rather than the original intention, being published in 2014. There is a whole plethora of ideas, some placed in uncanny juxtapositions, others in intriguing methods, yet perhaps these unplanned contradictions hint at a complicated portrait of The Man. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology, of which I can quote the ending lines ...more
Jericho Eames
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I now appreciate local literature. It's something to be able to understand the writers' and their lingo. It's something to understand things because you're Singaporean, it makes it a lot more relatable and a lot more raw. I feel connected somehow. There are really good poems in this collection, such as "Cut". It's one of my personal favourites. I feel a lot more optimistic about the local literature scene after reading this collection. Maybe we're onto something here.
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May 03, 2015
I sped through this. This is an electrifying collection and very thought-provoking. It reads like a very intense examination of poetry as a "luxury we cannot afford" and a thorough questioning of Singapore's narrative of pragmatism. A whole gallery of poets and voices rotate before the reader to give their thoughts and feelings of poetry, pragmatism and the Man. Some are sympathetic to him, some are critical, some are contemplative, some are callous. It has made me reflect on the ways Singaporea ...more
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
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Christine Chia is the author of The Law of Second Marriages (Math Paper Press, 2011 and 2014). She is the co-editor of a forthcoming poetry anthology A Luxury We Cannot Afford (Math Paper Press, end 2014) and a featured writer at the Singapore Literature Festival in New York (Oct 10-12, 2014). Christine contributes poetry variously to such projects and publications as Prairie Schooner, softblow, B ...more