Singapore Beats China at Poetry World Cup 2014

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Singapore Beats China at Poetry World Cup 2014
By Squircle Line Press
20 June, 2014

Singapore – Who would ever expect the Little Red Dot to trump the Middle Kingdom in a numbers game? But Singapore did, and did so in a resounding win. Welcome to Poetry World Cup 2014, an event organised by The Missing Slate that riffs off the world’s most anticipated football extravaganza.

The first round pit Singapore against China, with Singapore moving on to the second round. According to organiser Jacob Silkstone of The Missing Slate: “Singapore recorded one of the highest scores of the Poetry World Cup so far and announced themselves as serious contenders for the overall title.” Other countries moving into the second round include Bermuda, Tunisia, St. Lucia, and of course, USA.

Thrilled to be representing Singapore, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé did not even choose his poem for the tournament. His poem was selected by the organiser. The prose poem is titled “gǎn qíng yòng shì :: impulsive and impetuous”. The inaugural writer-in-residence at Gardens by the Bay earlier this year, Desmond will be launching his novel, Singular Acts of Endearment, as well as a poetry collection at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival. Advance praise for his novel has been glowing with Pushcart Prize winner Valerie Sayers, author of six novels, saying: “Singular Acts of Endearment is utterly engrossing…. It is simultaneously lament and celebration, formal exercise and freeform improvisation: it is exhilarating.”

Of his chances at clinching the top spot, Desmond says: “In a tournament like this, the fun and joy reside in the readers, and how they take to each poem. Everyone will interpret and appreciate a poem in his or her own distinct way, and there lies the magic of the game. The readers do the deciding as to which poem should make it through each round, and eventually grab the gold. I love it completely that I’m waving the flag for Singapore. I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Poetry World Cup 2014 brings together 32 authors from 32 countries from as far as Denmark, England, Ireland, Indonesia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Finland, Venezuela, and USA, among others. There are two rounds that decide who gains entry into the quarters, semis, and finals.

Singapore’s next match in Round Two is scheduled for Tuesday, 1 July. Singapore will meet Cyprus in what is expected to be a close fight. Viewers get to read both poems, and click to register their choice. Voting for the match will only open around 3.30pm (Singapore Time) on the day [editor: Monday, 30 June, 3:30 am Eastern Time] , and close 24 hours later. This match will decide if Singapore makes it to the Quarter Finals.

If anyone ever wished Singapore would clinch the World Cup, this might just be the next best thing.

For on-going match details, please visit the Poetry World Cup 2014 page at The Missing Slate.


Poetry World Cup 2014 Singapore Poetry

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.


  1. Desmond Kon

    As always, you are the joy of my life, Jee Leong!!! Big Bear Hug!!!


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