Friday, February 09, 2007

Nic's Nicobar Pigeon

You may have noticed the young man I've been bullying at recent readings, making him fetch and carry heavy loads, put out chairs, sell copies of Elarti and at Seksan's open the wine bottles and wash the glasses. One of these days I'm sure he's going to exact his revenge and that I'll find my big bossy self between the pages of a book. Even though Nic is 17 (and I do tend to be horrible patronising to talented 17 year olds as kG knows), he's already got an impressive writer's CV, and has a scholarship to read creative writing and literature at Columbia University.

When I gave him a lift home the other day, he let slip that he has just had a poem published in what is perhaps the most-prestigious British poetry journal, Rialto in the Young Poets section. I asked Nic to send me a scan from his copy, and here it is below (click to enlarge).*

Will be getting him to read at Seksan's a little down the line. (He's already strutted his stuff at Indie Scene cafe and for Project OMG). But he still has to wash the glasses.**

Meanwhile, Nic's at a bit of loose end between school and university and longing for some local friends to talk deep literary stuff with. (His school friends are all in Singapore and roped in to do their National Service.) Someone please take him out for a cup of poetic coffee. He might be superbright but he's a really nice guy too.

(Literary Lonely Hearts Column ...)

*Some ornitholgical info might help your reading.
**You can also enjoy his poem Carry On on the QLRS site.

(Pic stolen from Project OMG)


Lydia Teh said...

If I could live my life over again, I want to be 17 and talented!

bibliobibuli said...

*sigh* me too!

lil ms d said...

i cannot read his poem! very small type lah!

bibliobibuli said...

click, ms d, and then it will fill your whole scene lah

and if it's still not big enough buy reading glasses

Chet said...

"and if it's still not big enough buy reading glasses"

Oh-oh ...

sympozium said...

Aiyoh, as the Hokkiens would say, "The poem is too 'chim' for me eh."

dreamer idiot said...

Just read the poem... I can only say 'wow', after the second and third reading.

Not only is his control of rhythm, sound (alliteration) superb, his overlapping imagery is made dense through his descriptions and various allusions.

Not surprisingly, he's been accepted to Columbia University, where the English and Comparative Literature department is among the best in the world. A rare talent indeed! :)

Heartiest congratulations and wishes to Nic and his future!

oh yeah, before I forget, ask him if we could discuss his poems at puisi-poesy, and if he would like to be a contributor too, if and when he's free, that is... which reminds me, we should all meet up to discuss the direction of our blog, and the possibility of expanding it (more pp). I'll try to pen in a suitable date.

Lydia Teh said...

sympozium, I can't believe it's too chim for you. For me, yes, but smart cookie like you, how can?

bibliobibuli said...

DI - yeah just waiting for you to come here and discuss ...

will ask nic to contribure to puisi-poesy

lydia, sympozium - dunno what "chim" translates as since i only speak cantonese and have the vocab of food and insults

but i feel i don't fully understand the poem - i think there is a lot packed into it, and it needs puzzling ... and perhaps understand the bird first is necessary

the rhythm and sound-play is excellent, DI, i agree

but the poems i like best need to reach my heart

but something so good from someone so young ... ah that's inspiring

Madcap Machinist said...

Lydia, I'm with you here: to be 17 and to be half as talented!

I love the cascading sounds and yes, DI, great control. Nic has a very good ear it seems.

The reference to carbon is brilliant but we are of the same stuff, nevertheless... and I think Nic makes that point later on when he mentions our bird-eyes.

And making "Reunion Solitaire" into a sailor's game! Sharp. I had to look it up to find that it's an extinct bird like the Dodo. Ouch, would be embarassing if I took that at face value.

Yet, that's when the meaning of the poem becomes clear.

A sexy, demanding piece. Bravo Nic!

dreamer idiot said...

It isn't an easy piece for me either. Some possible clues as to the 'message' of the poem, but it's really layered, so will need to get back to it later:

the garden lack/ concession for this resident


extinct forest


Huguenots (had to google for the reference)

Madcap Machinist said...

Sharon... agree, it's not a poem that reaches in a visceral sense; a bit cold.

bibliobibuli said...

i'm telling the guy to go and have a wild time in new york when he gets there in september

fall in love

go white water rafting

hitchhike across the continent

busk in the subway

(my imagination for wild experiences fails here ... but you get the drift)

Chet said...

Sharon - chim means deep.

bibliobibuli said...

deep? yes, deep for sure. thanks chet.

Sharanya Manivannan said...

Yay! Nick is someone we can all be proud of. He's far more accomplished than so many of us writers in KL, but like you say, he's just the nicest, most unassuming guy ever. :)

Leon Wing said...

I would really love to talk "to talk deep literary stuff" with Nic, and exchange ideas about linguistics, how we go about creating, and syntax et al. Machinist would probably want to join in too, wouldn't you? - well anyone who's into this sort of thing - as M also has some very innovative ideas about writing for the Net and others.

nic said...

DI - thank you for your words. would love to meet you in person. yes, we should talk about the puisi-poesy site.

MM - i'm really glad you dissected the poem!

sharon - i'll take your advice to go wild mama

leon wing - we should meet up soon!

to others, thank you for your comments. =)

contact me at

bibliobibuli said...

you got friends now, nic!!!

Madcap Machinist said...

Yes Leon, count me in!

kG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leon Wing said...

Great, nic, we'll see how we'd go about this. I'll email you soon, or if you already have any ideas or plans do email me too at Machinist, how are your plans or time? any suggestions? And, anyone out there who would like to join up with us can get in touch with either me, nic or Machinist, or Sharon.

bibliobibuli said...

yeah ... let's meet

i am scared of the combined intellectual weight of my puisy-poesy co-stars!!!

Leon Wing said...

Sharon, yes, we all must meet and talk lit. Nic, any particular agenda, any area of lit stuff you want to discuss among us?

kG said...

Oops, I accidentally deleted my comment. Absent mindedly.

Anyway, once again, you impress me nic! Let's do that cup of coffee, everyone?

nic said...

sure, we're thinking this fri afternoon. can?

what's your email add, kg and dreamer idiot?

Anonymous said...

"Chim" is "deep" in English. It's ;iterally "deep" lol :) I'd love to talk, but I have floors to clean, dishes to wash.. he's lucky he only has to clean the glasses :)

An _American_ university being considered best for literature ? times have changed, or have they ?