After my poetry workshop last week, which the workshop facilitator practically threw out all the words I had used in my short three-lined poetry, I decided I should consult twice Singapore Literature Prize winner (2006 and 2014) for poetry, Yong Shu Hoong’s latest book, The Viewing Party.
I have never read a full poetry book, although I have appreciated certain ad hoc poetry which I had came across. So I was prepared to be bored or confused, like the first time I read Shakespeare in secondary school (Imagine my friend’s ten year old daughter reading it now!).
I know I have to keep an open-mind, throw away any preconceived ideas of poetry I had, like rhymes and style etc.
It’s weird reading poetry which looks rather similar to short story, with punctuation located mid-sentence. A friend who took an online poetry course told me it’s how the poetry is read, the pause at the end of the line….I probably need to take a course on how to read poetry, because after reading Dragonflies, a series of poetry on Grandpa’s death and funeral, I continued on to The Viewing Party Part 1, only to realise a few pages later that those in this collection are 100-words stories and not poetry. Also included in this book is a short story (more than 100 words) titled The Great Dying.
I enjoyed all the stories, especially the 100-words which must be short yet stump the reader, very challenging to do.
What I found a little baffling is in section The Cutting Room. Like I say, I need a course on how to read poetry. But hey, this is my first attempt. And I must say the mix of short stories and poetry in this book makes it a little easier and enjoyable.