In poems that shuttle between Singapore and Australia, award-winning poet Boey Kim Cheng seeks to establish a new sense of 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.
“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 Tilting Our Plates to Catch the Light(less)
In poems that shuttle between Australian and Singapore, Kim Cheng Boey seeks to establish a new sense of self and home on the shifting, liminal ground between memory and imagination. A noodle-maker in Melbourne triggers connective threads to Singapore, and the Sydney Chinatown calls up a global network of Chinatowns. Regardless of locale, these poems are attentive to the interconnectedness of the world, and the revelations found as the migrant self negotiates transnational space and liminal time.
“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
“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.”
“There is no denying the power of his poetry, a poetry so often, one feels, energized by its need to break through.”
—Lee Tzu Pheng
Kim Cheng Boey emigrated from Singapore in 1997. He lives in Sydney and teaches at the University of Newcastle. He has published four books of poetry and a travel memoir, Between Stations.