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Before We Are Ghosts

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  10 reviews
How do we handle loss? Why do we resist and accept change? Before We Are Ghosts explores the inevitable in life, and as a sequel to Keeping Skeletons, gives closure to the latter and comes to a conclusion that we can only keep going in circles until we learn to embrace loss and change as they are.
Paperback, First Edition, 47 pages
Published October 30th 2015 by Math Paper Press
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Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I’m not sure how this collection of poems by Singaporean poet Tan Lixin wound up at a book exchange in Romania, but that’s where I found it. An exploration, above all, of grief and death, it failed to really make an impression on me. After recently reading Ocean Vuong’s raw and visceral work dealing with similar themes, Tan Lixin’s poems seemed far too subdued and banal. She’s not a bad poet, but I didn’t feel the thrill I usually experience when reading exceptional poetry.
Mark Lin
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first heard of the author from her first book, Keeping Skeletons, and was so captivated by her hauntingly beautiful and...real writing that I arrived at Before We Are Ghosts not before long. I can say with confidence that she is one of the utmost best writers in Singapore that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Before We Are Ghosts is an excellent book on not just poetry, but the journey of loss itself. The author Lixin has perfectly captured the calamity of going through loss through wor
Melvin Tan
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some books can be judged by their covers. Before We Are Ghosts is one. Water slipping through the fingers forebodes the wistful longing that will seep through the pages. Many poems stem from the tender relationship between the author and her father. You get the feeling she is drawing from wounds that time will never heal. This deceivingly slim collection drowns with a wrenching sense of loss. Proceed at your own risk!
The first book impacted me much deeper.
This sequel explores loss and death in an abstract manner that gravitates around heavy metaphors of Shadows, nature and decay, which I enjoyed. I liked the imagery that blossomed and took shape in my head. When I read this in one entire sitting I felt like I was in a boat, bobbing and swaying on the river passageway of death, towards the gates of the underworld. In which the passenger laments about her life and loss, and the more that there is to come.
Kara Ng
Oct 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Read some of her poems, not a very good read. Not very original and they don't really transcend and speak to one's soul. A bit blah, and weirdly alot based on people's skin color. A few seemed half hearted, as if a teen was being forced to write. A waste of money to purchase in my opinion . Much better ones out there, so I pass.
Christina Hopp
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book - a lot of strong poetry! My favorite poem was Perth. The ending line always hits with a punch in Lixin's writing, so I really liked that in particular.
Patrick Lim
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book... While being a tough statement to say, its even better than the last.
Kumiko Mae LovingSunshine
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
while i always approach poetry to have stains of sex, this anthology dived into the deeper ruins left behind by death. it was a melancholic read that immensely satiated my need for some sort of preparedness in accepting loss
Guan You
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Poetry dealing with the topic of death has been written to death, but somehow a breath of life could be whiffed from these poems. The elegiac writing conveyed both weight and poignance to lend this collection suitable gravitas.
Kathleen Bu
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Scissor Stockings
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Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I could not relate deeply to most of the poems. Though I felt the writing was lyrical, none of them really stood out for me.
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Xu Wei
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