Saturday, May 26, 2007

Heartache and Laughter at Seksan's

Another Saturday, another "Readings" at that little gallery in Bangsar ...

Balan Moses who is deputy chief news editor of the New straits Times read from his book Brickfields: A Time, a Place, a Memory, and his enjoyment in his own writing really came through as he read about the toddy shop, the hotel that doubled as ... erm ... something else, and the delicious food available in the area. I felt nostalgic even though I've only know Brickfields in more recent times!

Bath-based aromatherapist, mother of two and newbie blogger Pey Colborne's poems were magical. My favourites were: the first poem she wrote when she left Malaysia for Britain about all the things she misses most, another called Thumbs about how her daughters have inherited her thumbs which in palmistry denote a certain stubbornness and desire to travel ... and Totem in which she identifies with the humming-bird.

Noraishah Ismail has had several short stories published in the Silverfish collections under her pen-name Nora Adam. Today she read a heartbreaking story about a woman longing for her husband to make love to her ... she'd even settle for a kiss. Beautiful and brave writing.

Multi-talented (poet, author, photographer, filmmaker, actress, teacher!) Bernice Chauly read a series of heartfelt poems on divorce, death, love and heartbreak from her work-in-progress The Book of Sins. I was very moved by the poem she wrote about her mother's death, which ends with the words "fly, mother, fly" - I can identify with it having been there at the end with my mum.

Nicholas Wong's writer's CV is long and features some impressive literary awards and publications - not bad for someone who turned 18 just a week or two back! I am so happy to see how much more confident Nic has grown in reading his work in public. Methinks the workshop with Jacob Sam-La Rose worked its magic.

Nic began with a hilarious parody of Sharanya Manivannan's best loved poem about how everything in the universe wants to make love to her (and dedicated it to her!). Then he read a very affecting piece about the special children he works with at Bridges EIP in Kampong Kayu Ara, before ending with an extract from his prize-winning play Death Off the Mainland (about Singapore- Malaysia relations) which he read with Eugene Chuah.

I was so pleased that Wong Phui Nam, one of South-east Asia's most distinguished poets had agreed to come along and read. In his humble way he asked to read last "to give the young people a chance". I've been enjoying Phui Nam's collected poems in An Acre of the Day's Glass - and it was a real pleasure to hear his six poems today, all about women.

We hope to host a reading of his latest play at Seksan's soon. It was first read at the litfest but because there was so much else on, many people who wanted to hear it didn't get the chance.

In an interview last year Phui Nam said:
I write in English and how many read in English or are even interested in English poetry?
I hope he left the readings very much cheered that although the poets may not exactly be taking over the world, there is an enthusiastic following for poetry and some very good stuff being written.

Thanks to all the people who supported the event, especially Seksan for the inspiring space, La Bodega for the wine, Kenny for the poster, and all the readers.

Postscript:

Posts on other blogs about the event. BP reckons you should never judge a poet by the way he opens a winebottle. Karsy is glad "readings" isn't as arstyfartsy as she feared it would be. Nic reveals he wrote the parody poem on the LRT. Leon has some excellent photos here. (More to be linked as I come across it.)

20 comments:

Sufian said...

Some of my pictures, Sharon.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sufian_abas/

Anonymous said...

What's with the boar background(!)?

SecretHistory said...

Hi anon, I am not sure. I was there a few months ago. I have a couple of theories.

1. They were the graduation pics of the pigs in Animal Farm. The one in the middle is Napoleon who was class valecdictorian. The one on his right is Snowball.

2. It could be tribute to the poem Five Little Pigs that was also the tile of one of Agatha Christie's mystery books.

gRaCe said...

I love the boar poster! It was a different poster last month but it was up again this month. I guess Seksan loved it as much as i do. Heheh...;o)

I enjoyed every bit of Readings yesterday Sharon. It was real fun. Am hooked to it now. =D

Anonymous said...

Seems like someone with a terrible/good sense of humor picked that poster, you'd think that a roomful of wordsmiths would have recognized the joke :D

Pelukismelukis said...

I enjoyed it immensely :-). Lots of lovely people that day.

bibliobibuli said...

as someone suggested to me on saturday(and please close your ears if you don't like this one!) there is one piggie for each reader - six in all

anon - there is no joke. there is just a gallery space we borrow and the blessing of coincidence or synchronicity. there was different art on the walls last month.

not poster - grace! this is an original oil painting in 3 panels and beautifully done

thanks pelukis - it was lovely to see you there too

sufian - many thanks for the photos. i love the one of me and want to put it up here. you are a talented guy!

Anonymous said...

Bib -- providence makes fools of us all sometimes I guess. Intentional or accidental, it was still quite amusing on several levels.

Anonymous said...

Oh BTW, those look more like pigs than boars to me. Boars have coarse brown hair. Those are PIGS.

Sufian said...

Thanks sharon :)

Antares said...

[SIGH] So much excitement, so much to miss... because all this stuff happens in KL... and I happen NOT to be in KL! But no regrets... having experienced a wonderful buzz at my first 'Reading' last month I've promised to treat myself to more, but this has been a hectic week for me! Great to read your glowing report, Sharon, thanks :-)

lainie said...

thank you la bodega for the wine :D :D and why would anyone worry about the seksan swines?

good day, that.

Madcap Machinist said...

sufian, those pics are awesome!

Sufian said...

Thanks Machinist.

New address (but same ol' stuff) for the reading photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sufian_abas/sets/72157600200846267/

Azmi said...

Glad I could make it this time ....although I had to close my eyes and suck on a whole pack of preserved ginger to stop from feeling sick due to the medication in my system! I enjoyed the session tremendously, so did the friend I brought along. Wish we could start on time though as quite a number of us were on time and were not sure if the thing is cancelled since no one was around when we arrived...

Re piggy painting-isn't this the Year of the Pig, perhaps that is why ?

Question-would the organisers want guests to bring some pot-luck stuff next time? I don't mind...

bibliobibuli said...

azmi - thanks. i'm usually there by 2.30 feeling anything that can go wrong will go wrong but i was a bit delayed (but was still half an hour early!) this sat as i had a playwriting course at central market so bernice was there ahead of time to set things up and i called buddhi to open the door.

sorry you weren't feeling well and thanks a lot for coming and bringing a friend. am really so sorry i didn't make the connection with the azmi of the blog. i was altogether very blur on saturday and didn't recognise two other people i actually know really well.

pot-luck stuff would be just lovely!! i keep hoping someone will ask that question! but finger food is best so there isn't too much mess or clearing up.

antares - let's organise the magick river readings then??

lainie - swine, wine ... you're a poet!

sufian - noted

The Eternal Wanderer said...

I love the readings for sure! Thanks for prodding me along! (Your mention of the wine sure helped lots!) It was really fun to meet up with so many people that you'll only know from blogs. Like Madcap Machinist, I think I'm hooked! Keep me posted on future readings and I'll do my best to plug it too!

msiagirl said...

Those are some beautiful pictures by Sufian - I am glad you put up the one of you Sharon! Thank you for making space for me to read, it is a wonderful event that you've kept going and the venue is really lovely. I wish I had had more time to chat but it was so nice to meet lots of you (esp those of you from puisypoesy), I had so much fun listening to all the other readers too.

bibliobibuli said...

glad you came along and enjoyed yourself, and thanks for the support

msiagirl - so glad you came and we could find a slot for you. i loved your poems and hope you publish them ...

Anonymous said...

Bernice is kinda dreamy, isn't she ?