The Year in Retrospect
Actually lots of things happened to me this year, but since this is my poetry blog, I'm just going to write about the poetry stuff.
Golden Point Award
The highlight of my year was winning the Golden Point Award for Poetry, an event reported in the Straits Times, the Business Times, the Lianhe Zaobao and Tomorrow.
Subsequently, I encountered a few clever critics (a grand total of three, actually) who basically implied, insinuated or otherwise said outright that my winning poems kinda sucked and maybe I shouldn't have won. Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and anyway you can't please everybody all the time - that's an important lesson I learned. Life goes on.
I also discovered that some people in Singapore believe that a secret formula exists for winning the GPA, and that is to write not the way you want to write, but in the way that the judges want you to write. And some of those people believed that I knew the secret formula and had applied it. Sorry folks, I really don't know how the judges wanted me or anyone else to write. I just try to write the way I want to write. That's a big enough challenge for me. Isn't it, for you?
Workshops & Drama & Readings
Two of my poems, Chiang's Heatstroke and National Day Parade, were transformed into drama pieces and performed by Stages, a local theatre company, at the Singapore Art Museum Auditorium. Kelly Madigan Erlandson, a poet in Nebraska, USA, used my works in a writing workshop to teach her students how to write poetry.
I read at a grand total of one poetry reading this year. Ummm. It was one of those Subtext readings organised by the tireless local poet Yong Shu Hoong. I was very pleased to meet acclaimed Australian poet Mark O'Connor at this reading. He read some startlingly beautiful poems. About nature and the wilderness and all that. He's an environmental kind of guy. I'm definitely going to try to track down his books.
I didn't write a lot of new stuff this year, but a lot of old, unpublished stuff managed to get itself published in various anthologies, journals and e-zines. I had two poems in Dim Sum (Hong Kong), one poem in Yuan Yang (Hong Kong), two poems in Graphic Poetry (UK), four poems in Softblow (Singapore), one poem in The Gift of Experience (USA) and one prose piece in In Our Own Words Vol 6 (USA).
I was supposed to have six poems appear in the November issue of Blackmail Press (New Zealand). But the editor changed his mind and decided to use those poems in February 2006 instead. So I guess this can't count as a 2005 poetry event for me.
Good Stuff That I Read
This was the year I discovered Rumi. Yeah, I know, long overdue. My single biggest discovery in poetry this year. This is life-changing stuff. Don't try it until your soul says so.
I've really grown to like this blog a lot - and that means all you readers too. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your comments and criticisms. This blog has been a great way to share my poems with other people, and that really means something to me because a poem is not a poem unless it has a reader.
And it has been a marvellous thing for me to discover and come to know, through Reader's Eye and the blogosphere, other fellow poets and poetry lovers, people like Floots, Dsnake, Liz, Alson, Orso, Amy G, Patry, Cocaine Jesus, Dreamer Idiot, mrdes, mischz and others. Thank you all and I hope you have a great 2006.