Second Saturdays Reading Series #4

Second Saturdays Reading Series #4
Written by Kenneth Lim, with photos by Kimberley Lim and Paul and Al Rozario-Falcone

It was a case of bare feet and bared souls on June 14 as over 30 people gathered at yoga studio Yumcha Yoga for the June edition of Second Saturdays, a monthly series held in New York City dedicated to the reading of Singaporean and American literature.

10485307_1504024966476490_7562049440597736141_n 10492224_1504024963143157_2334605085770010830_n

Hosted by husband-wife team Colin Goh and Yen Yen Woo, who run the Flushing yoga studio, the evening saw both emerging and established Singaporean writers share their work. Recent NYU graduate Kenneth Lim read three original poems. Writer-playwright Jeremy Tiang shared his piece, “The Stars Are God’s Disco Ball”, while performer Shawn Chua gave a dramatic performance of poems written by Singapore Literature Festival chair Paul Rozario, and featured writer Christine Chia. Publishing assistant Kimberley Lim read a poem from her University of Virgina capstone thesis, while teacher Melissa Wong shared three poems of her own. And it was Yen Yen herself, also a Singapore Literature Festival featured writer, who closed the first half of the evening, telling a poignant story about her daughter’s encounters with the mother tongue.

10414644_1504025059809814_1155764420671611765_n-224x300

Jeremy Tiang reading “The Stars Are God’s Disco Balls”

10477966_1504025056476481_2117385320447743713_n-300x224

Shawn Chua reading poems by Paul Rozario-Falcone and Christine Chia

10470926_1504025069809813_896377860259220226_n-300x225

Kimberley Lim reading her poems

10304777_1504025236476463_7244146201140105972_n-300x225

Melissa Wong reading her poems

10406557_1504025183143135_1867791475750391441_n-224x300

Yen Yen Woo, stand-up extraordinaire

Guests were then treated to a brief but magical musical interlude as acclaimed thereminist Shueh-li Ong performed three songs, including a synth-infused rendition of Ava Maria. Shueh-li, a Singaporean based in Nashville, is known as Singapore’s “first and only diva of the theremin,” having recorded with musicians like Dean Parks of Steely Dan, Leann Rimes’ bassist, Curtis Randall, and Shelley Carrol of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

10443435_1504024973143156_5739916987939224962_n-300x225

Shueh-li Ong playing her theremin

The second half of the evening belonged to the writers of Singapore Noir, a newly published anthology by Akashic Books. Edited by New York based journalist and author Cheryl Tan, the book comprises stories set in distinct Singaporean neighborhoods or locations, exposing the city state in “all its noir glory.”

Damon Chua read an excerpt from his story, “Saiful and the Pink Edward VII”, while Singapore Literature Festival featured writer Colin Goh read from his piece, “Last Time.” And fittingly, it was Cheryl who closed the intimate literary evening in Queens with a snippet from her story, “Reel.”

“I chose a setting close to my heart—the kelongs, or old fisheries on stilts, that once dotted the waters of Singapore but are gradually disappearing,” the Singapore Literature Festival featured writer says in the book’s introduction. “I have a deep sense of romance about these kelongs, along with the many other settings, characters, nuances, and quirks that you’ll see in these stories.”

10474665_1504025233143130_6663775271255730666_n-225x300

Damon Chua reading from “Saiful and the Pink Edward VII”

10500367_1504025766476410_3287873361586521166_n-225x300

Colin Goh reading from “Last Time”

10444719_1504025256476461_2965017624147579749_n-225x300

Cheryl Tan, editor of Singapore Noir, reading from “Reel”

10426697_1504025079809812_5407654750418264873_n-300x224 10448832_1504024956476491_8924201672759692302_n-300x22410462456_1504025073143146_8727335273587197179_n-300x224 10462724_1504025046476482_225406443517048283_n-300x22410483742_1504025253143128_4647973110892000423_n

~~

The Second Saturdays Reading Series is a monthly platform in New York City for the reading of Singaporean and American literatures. Taking place in different intimate locations around the city, the series will culminate in the Singapore Literature Festival, a three-day festival open to the public held in New York City on October 10, 11, and 12, 2014.

For more information on the next reading, taking place on Saturday, July 12, please contact info@singaporeliteraturefestival.com.

For all Singapore Literature Festival news and updates, visit our Facebook page.

Purchase your copy of Singapore Noir at Akashic Books!

SingaporeNoir1-509x800

 

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: