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“The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the windowpanes.”

For T. S. Eliot, it must have been an allusion. Memory, or the idea of it. A bit of paint smeared. Smoke from a factory. A cat looking in on a conversation about art. Maybe it’s artifice after all, the same talent and intelligence Picasso spoke of – of painters who can transform “a yellow blot into the sun”. These pages lay out their own yellow, a canvas on which anything can happen, anything can be rendered, anything said. If everything is indeed a text, what text will inhabit these pages? What images, what stories? This journal houses one of ten broadsides published for Eye|Feel|Write. These are limited edition collectibles. Commissioned by the National Arts Council, this first instalment has invited ten eminent writers – Robin Hemley, Joshua Ip, Isa Kamari, Alvin Pang, Tan Chee Lay, Jollin Tan, Edwin Thumboo, Ramanathan Vairavan, Yeow Kai Chai and Ovidia Yu – to create ekphrastic responses to artworks in the Medium at Large exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum. Managed by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Eye|Feel|Write opens up the invitation to you, the reader. To engage with the world around you, the beauty that exists within. This is a rarefied and celebrated space, one where art meets literature. Eye|Feel|Write is a special commission of the Singapore Writers Festival 2014.



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Alvin Pang (b. 1972, Singapore) was Singapore’s Young Artist of the Year for Literature in 2005, and received the Singapore Youth Award for Arts and Culture in 2007. A poet, writer, editor and translator listed in the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English (2nd Edition, 2013), he has appeared in major festivals and publications worldwide. His work has been translated into over fifteen languages. He holds First Class Honours in Literature from the University of York, and is a Board Member of the University of Canberra’s International Poetry Studies Institute and a Fellow of the Iowa International Writing Program. He also directs The Literary Centre (Singapore), a non-profit inter-cultural initiative. As an anthologist, his curatorial efforts include No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (Ethos Books, Singapore, 2000), Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (with John Kinsella in 2008) and Tumasik: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (Autumn Hill, USA, 2010). His recent publications include What Gives Us Our Names (Math Paper Press, 2011), Other Things and Other Poems (Brutal, Croatia, 2012) and When The Barbarians Arrive (Arc Publications, UK, 2012). 



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Edwin Thumboo (b. 1933) has published six collections of poems, the most recent being Word-Gate (2013). He edited Seven Poets: Singapore/Malaysia, An Anthology (1973), The Second Tongue: An Anthology of Poetry from Malaysia and Singapore (1979), and was General Editor for the Anthology of ASEAN Literatures: The Poetry of Singapore (1985), and The Fiction of Singapore (1990). Discussions of his poetry include Ee Tiang Hong’s Responsibility and Commitment: The Poetry of Edwin Thumboo (1997), Peter Nazareth’s Creating a Nation through Poetry (2008), and Essays on Edwin Thumboo, edited by Jonathan Webster with essays by the editor, Thiru Kandiah, Wong Phui Nam and Lily Tope. He received the 2002 Raja Rao Award for contributions to the literature of the Indian Diaspora, and more recently the Suthorn Phu Award (2013). An Emeritus Professor of the National University of Singapore, he has held visiting professorships and fellowships at universities in the USA, UK and Australia. 



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Isa Kamari has written nine novels in Malay: Satu Bumi, Kiswah, Tawassul, Menara, Atas Nama Cinta,Memeluk Gerhana, Rawa, Duka Tuan Bertakhta and Selendang Sukma. Seven were translated into English: One Earth (Satu Bumi), Intercession (Tawassul), Nadra (Atas Nama Cinta), Rawa (Rawa), A Song of the Wind (Memeluk Gerhana), 1819 (Duka Tuan Bertakhta) and The Tower (Menara). He has also published two collections of poems, Sumur Usia and Munajat Sukma, a collection of short stories, Sketsa Minda, and a collection of theatre scripts, Pintu. Isa was conferred the S.E.A. Write Award (2006), the Cultural Medallion (2007), and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (2009).



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Jollin Tan is someone who treats writing as a space, where feelings can be articulated and shaped. Bursting Seams and Derivative Faith, her two collections of poetry, mainly address issues closest to her heart, involving faith and body image — the two things that define her most as a person. She also works on the team of Wallflowers Magazine, an online curating journal that works to feature under-exposed artists, talented individuals and their work. Jollin’s work has been curated by Prairie Schooner, and appears in Body Boundaries. She has performed her poetry multiple times in a public setting and is thankful to have found that many appreciate her writing.




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Joshua Ip is the author of two poetry collections: sonnets from the singlish (2012) and making love with scrabble tiles (2013) from Math Paper Press. His poetry has been published in print anthologies such as No Other City, onewinged and Ceriph, and online journals including softblow, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and Blue Lyra Review. His short stories have been anthologized in Balik Kampung 2A and From the Belly of the Cat from Math Paper Press. He won the Golden Point Award for Prose in 2013 for the short story “The Man Who Turned Into a Photocopier" and was runner-up for Poetry in 2011. He recently convened Singapore’s inaugural Singapore Poetry Writing Month in Apr 2014, gathering a community of over 400 poets to write a poem a day for a month, and is currently editing an anthology of the collected works from the event. He is also working on his first graphic novel, after the flood, in collaboration with Timothy Wang and Adam Jay.



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Ovidia Yu has had over thirty plays produced in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, UK and USA, including ‘The Woman In A Tree On The Hill’ which won an Edinburgh Fringe First and ‘Hitting (On) Women’ which won the Audience Award and Singapore’s Life! Theatre Awards Best Original Script. She has also written musicals and dramatised her play ‘Round And Round The Dining Table’ into a television script. For her writing, Ovidia has received the National Arts Council Young Artist Award (Drama and Fiction), the Singapore Youth Award (Arts and Culture), the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation Award for outstanding contribution to the development of arts. She also received a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Iowa’s International Writing Programme. Her children’s book ‘The Mudskipper’ about a mixed race child exploring her Singapore roots was runner up for the inaugural Scholastic Asia Book Award and shortlisted for the Hedwig Anwar Book Prize in 2012. Her murder mystery, Aunty Lee’s Delights, was published by William Morrow in 2013, followed by the second book in the series, Aunty Lee’s Special Poisons.



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Ramanathan Vairavan is the recipient of the Singapore Literature Prize 2012 for his book Kavithai Kuzhandaikal in the Tamil category. Born in Tamil Nadu, Rama Vairavan came to Singapore in 1998 to work and became a citizen of Singapore in 2007. He is passionate about Tamil literature and has been writing since 1998. Working as a software engineer, he writes poetry, short stories, and essays in Tamil Murasu, Tamil Nesan and internet magazines. Besides being active in the Association of Singapore Tamil Writers (ASTW) as its Assistant Secretary, he has also published two short story collections, two poetry collections and one essay collection. His short stories and poetry have won many prizes from ASTW. His works normally talk about the common man, family, children and the impact of changing lifestyles.



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Robin Hemley, a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, directed the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa from 2004-2013, and currently directs the Writing Program at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. The winner of many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Editor’s Choice Award from the American Library Association, three Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction, an Independent Press Book of the Year Award, his work has been widely anthologized and his books have been published in the UK, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines. His book about a purported anthropological hoax in the Philippines, Invented Eden: The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday is in pre-production by the BBC for a feature-length film. Besides writing four collections of short fiction, a novel, two memoirs, a book of investigative journalism, as well as a collaboration with New York street photographer, Jeff 

Mermelstein, he has also written two popular craft books: Turning Life Into Fiction, which has been in print since 1994 and has sold over 100,000 copies, and Field Guide For Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel (The University of Georgia Press, 2012). He has also co-edited an anthology of innovative fiction, Extreme Fiction, with Michael Martone. He is the publisher and founding editor of Defunct Magazine ( and a contributing editor of The Iowa Review, a past editor of the respected literary magazine, Bellingham Review, and is the founder and organizer of NonfictioNow, a biennial conference that will convene next at Northern Arizona University in October of 2015. He is currently finishing a novel set in the Philippines. A book of nonfiction from the first thirty years of the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa, co-edited with Hope Edelman, is forthcoming from The University of Chicago Press. His website is




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Tan Chee Lay has lived in Singapore, Taiwan and UK, and has studied Chinese literature, English Studies and Business Administration. He completed his doctorate in Oriental Studies (Chinese literature) at Cambridge University, specializing in Chinese poetry and exile poets. He is currently Assistant Professor of Chinese at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and is the Deputy Executive Director of the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language, NTU. Chee Lay is passionate and active in promoting Chinese creative writing and culture in Singapore, and has received numerous literary awards, including the Young Artist Award and the Singapore Youth Award (Culture and the Arts). One of the most prolific writers among his peers, he has published over 20 collections of poetry, essays, short stories and academic writings in Chinese, and occasionally in 

English. His recent books of creative writing include Jian Qiao Shi Xue (Cambridge Poetics) (Firstfruits Publishing, 2010 – shortlist of Singapore Literature Prize 2012), Yuan Shi Bi Ji (The Original Notes: A Poetic Manuscript) (Lingzi, 2012), Shao Nian Xiao Shuo – Da Ge de Qin Qing (Short Stories for Youth) (Lingzi, 2013), Xi Zhi Wei Ke Shu (Sidgwick Writings: Letters between Singapore and Cambridge) (Global Publishing, 2014). He is also the author of A Delicate Touch: Essays on Chinese Influences and Chinese Genres (McGraw-Hill Education, 2010), Teaching of Chinese Language and Literature in Singapore (Zhejiang University Press, 2011), and Modern Chinese Literature and its Pedagogy (Taipei: Wanjuanlou, 2013).



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Yeow Kai Chai has two poetry collections: Pretend I’m Not Here (2006); and Secret Manta (2001), which was adapted from an entry shortlisted for the 1995 Singapore Literature Prize. His poems have been featured in anthologies such as the US-based WW Norton anthology, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008); and France’s La Traductiere (2012), as well as journals as The Wolf (UK), Ars Interpres (Sweden), Blue Lyra Review (US), Prairie Schooner (US), Luna Park Review (US), and Mascara Literary Review (Australia). His short stories have also appeared in Balik Kampung (2012) and Twenty-Four Flavours (2013). A co-editor of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), he was the Singapore representative for the Fall Residency of the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa in 2014. He helped conceptualise 

and organise the inaugural Singapore Writers Festival closing debate called Dissecting the Merlion, as well as edited Reflecting on the Merlion for the National Arts Council in 2009. He co-organised the first screening of the QLRS Screening Series: The Willow Tree, by Iranian director Majid Majidi in 2007 at the National Museum. He won first prize for poetry and third prize for creative prose in the National University of Singapore (NUS) Literary Society Poetry and Creative Prose Contest in two consecutive years from 1989 to 1991. He directed Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs, in the NUS Annual Drama Competition, which won best overall production in 1992. A Master of Arts graduate in English Literature from the NUS, he has covered entertainment and the arts as editor, writer and music reviewer for the past two decades in various newspapers and magazines, including The Straits Times, My Paper, and 8 Days. His third poetry collection, One to the Dark Tower Comes, is forthcoming.

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