Special Focus on Justin Chin – “Memorial Reading in Singapore”

The Singapore memorial reading for poet Justin Chin was held on Saturday, July 23, at Artistry Cafe. It was an intimate and moving event, as a line-up of local writers read from Chin’s various works to an audience comprising the writing community, Justin’s secondary school friends, and well wishers.

Poet Stephane Dogfoot recalled what discovering Justin Chin’s work meant to her: “I found out about Justin Chin sometime … I don’t remember the year …. I think I was in secondary school, so sometime in the early 2000’s. Borders was still around then [audience laughs]…. And I thought, Justin was a Chinese name, and I went to research him, like, what the fuck, he was a Chinese guy, an Asian guy, not only that, he was from Malaysia as well, and he’s this crazy person who’s gay and a poet, and I didn’t know those things were possible back then [audience laughs]. So he was an inspiration for me. And so I found his books, I bought four of his books, ordered some from Amazon later on and, yeah, he’s a true inspiration for my writing, and how I think about stuff, I guess.”

 

18. Justin reading from 98 wounds

 

Watch the playlist of videos to be part of the reading: Christine CHIA reading from Bite Hard, Desmond KON from Shampoo journal, Cyril WONG from Harmless Medicine, YEOW Kai Chai from Mongrel, O Thiam Chin from Burden of Ashes, Stephanie DOGFOOT and TSE Hao Guang from Gutted, Jason WEE reading a poem written for Justin, and KOH Jee Leong a coda. Many thanks to Joshua IP for recording the event at short notice.

 

 

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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