Writing for Singapore Poetry, Drunken Boat founding editor Ravi Shankar describes his recent trip to Singapore to read at the American Writers Festival.
Within a complex terrain scattered with both colonial-era statues and high-tech buildings, writers from both the U.S. and Singapore sought to understand the cultural impact of history on free speech and art-making:
“Here were five American writers totally variant in terms of ethnicity and writing genre, with views as radically divergent as only a democracy might produce, speaking to a Singaporean audience who seemed to be grappling with the responsibilities and risks of free speech, who were admiring of the audacious American contributions to the arts, but who were also perplexed by a nation that can’t seem to have a civil discussion on its Senate floor.
I in turn was mesmerized by the efflorescence of this island brought to prominence by 14th century Srivijayan prince Parameswara whose idea to set up a trading port proved prescient as that remains what Singapore seems most adept at doing: assimilating and evolving.”
In the piece, Ravi Shankar also announces that he will co-edit a forthcoming collection of American and Singaporean poetry addressing the theme of “union,” with possible interpretations including mathematics, sex, and political organization.
Shankar will collaborate with poet Alvin Pang on the project, which Math Paper Press will publish in 2014. Interested in submitting? Send no more than three poems to Ravi_AT_Drunkenboat.com.
Read Ravi Shankar’s full article here:
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