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Clear Brightness

Publisher: Epigram Books
  • Description
  • Praise
  • About the Author
  • Selected by The Straits Times as one of the Best Books of 2012

    Look inside the book

    In poems that shuttle between Singapore and Australia, award-winning poet Boey Kim Cheng seeks to establish a new senseof self and home on the shifting ground between memory and imagination. A noodle-maker in Melbourne triggers connective threads to the poet’s birthplace. A train crossing over the Johor-Singapore Causeway evokes the dislocating experience of interstitial existence. After six long years, one of Singapore’s greatest modern voices returns with a work of profound insight and erudition. 

    Clear Brightness has since been selected as an ‘A’-Level literature text in Singapore.

  • “Boey Kim Cheng perseveres in drawing poignant bridges between a vanishing past and that ever-indifferent future. Each poem marks a destination that has disappeared, or is disappearing, marked by a sense of both public and intensely personal loss, accumulating in what the poet has himself described as a growing ‘list of the disappeared’—full of heartfelt inventory, difficult reconciliations and a thoughtful compassion. Clear Brightness is Boey’s best collection yet.”
    Cyril Wong, author of The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza and Ten Things My Father Never Taught Me and Other Stories

    “The poems in Clear Brightness continue the story of the writer’s life in Australia while harking back to the rhythms of his birthplace. The result is verses juxtaposing contrasts such as the Qing Ming grave-cleaning ritual with the menace of a bush fire. Haunting and mesmerising.”
    —Akshita Nanda, The Straits Times

    “There is a mellowness to the writing, a new sensuality to sense memories invoked with vivid clarity, and, dare I say it, even clear notes of happiness. The deft interplay of images, drawn from tapestry and music, are a swoonsome delight to read.”
    —Ong Sor Fern, The Sunday Times

    “No other writer from Singapore influences the country’s current batch of poets more than Australia’s new citizen Boey Kim Cheng.”
    —Gwee Li Sui, author and illustrator of Myth of the Stone

    “Boey Kim Cheng’s poems gather as they go powerful rhythmical force precisely by being rooted in the specifics of experience and feeling. They are deeply moving for their grand (and sometimes sorrow-shot) amplitude, as they take in the plurality of this breathtaking world.”
    —Judith Beveridge, winner of the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal

    “The best post-1965 English-language poet in the republic today.”
    —Shirley Geok-lin Lim, author of Among the White Moon Faces

    “There is no denying the power of his poetry, a poetry so often, one feels, energised by its need to break through.”
    —Anne Lee Tzu Pheng, Cultural Medallion recipient for Literature

    “Boey’s words freeze moments across cities, and landscapes of the mind wedged in different slices of time. The longtime reader will find that the sojourning impulse through his earlier poems now settle into a less restless beat, and the anxious search for home gives way to an acceptance of multiple ones.”
    —Wei Fen Lee, co-editor of Ceriph and Coast

  • Boey Kim Cheng is a multi-award-winning Singapore-born poet, and a 1996 recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award. He emigrated to Australia in 1997, but returned in 2013 as one of Nanyang Technological University's writers-in-residence; he is currently Associate Professor in the NTU Division of English. He co-founded Mascara Literary Review in 2007, the first Australian literary journal to promote Asian Australian writing, and in 2013 co-edited the groundbreaking anthology Contemporary Asian Australian Poets. Boey has published five collections of poetry, including Clear Brightness (selected by The Straits Times as one of the Best Books of 2012), as well as Between Stations, a celebrated travel memoir reissued by Epigram Books in 2017. His writing is frequently studied in tertiary and university institutions in Singapore and abroad. Gull Between Heaven and Earth is his first novel.

ISBN: 9789810741822
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 64
Year Published: 2012
Size: 148mm x 210mm