Text in the City

Another creative initiative by The Arts House, Singapore:

Text in the City is a campaign that promotes Singapore poetry through a free mobile app and a writing competition. Users can read and listen to 100 poems by 50 poets in their original languages, including Alvin Pang, Alfian Sa’at, Edwin Thumboo, Elangovan, Grace Chia, Heng Siok Tian, Isa Kamari, KTM Iqbal, Lee Tzu Pheng, and Yeng Pway Ngon.

All the poems centre on the theme of place in Singapore. At the same time, the app allows users to instantly upload their own poetry creation. The interactive app features an array of content – besides the audio recordings by the poets themselves, there are also some present day and archival photos of the spaces and places written about, with anecdotes to provide users with interesting bite-sized cultural and historical information.

Divided into six zones – central, east, island, north, north-east and west – the 100 poems featured in the app allow users to see these spaces and places through the eyes of our poets. From reminiscing about the hustle and bustle of Bugis in yesteryears, to observing the daily activities at a neighbourhood coffee shop, the zoning function in the app creates a whole new experience of enjoying poetry through our unique cityscape.

The app also features three poetry trails: The Civic District, Bras Basah and Chinatown. Marked with green icons on the app’s map, the trails highlight selected poems which showcase specific places or landmarks within each of the precincts. In addition, curated tours by veteran guides from the Singapore Heritage Society will be organised for the public.

For more information, visit textinthecity.sg

Text in the City app will be available for download on iTunes and Google Play stores from 4 October 2014.

In celebration of the launch of Text in the City, a series of poetry events have been scheduled from 9am to 9pm at The Arts House on Saturday, 4 October. Lose yourself in a day of poetry at The Arts House! Go on a walk with us as we revisit places that inspired Singapore poets. Grab a local title from the BooksActually pop-up poetry store, compose your own poem on a magnetic board and immerse yourself in various performances, talks and workshops and more!


Beyond the launch, The Arts House is also taking poetry on the road. Check out their website for details of upcoming roadshows, where you will meet poets Gwee Li Sui, Terrence Heng, Tse Hao Guang, Desmond Kon, and Heng Siok Tian, among others. To encourage public participation in the creation of Singapore poetry, Text in the City is organizing a poetry competition, with very attractive prizes.  Original poems written in English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil are welcomed.



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.

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