According to the American poet Jane Hirshfield, ‘We read or write poems because we need them.’ The history of our relationship with the form bears strong witness to her statement; and we wholeheartedly concur. With this in mind, we are honoured to collaborate with Bernice Chauly, the esteemed Malaysian writer and educator for a poetry workshop themed around family heritage. Please join us at Aesop Gurney Plaza on 7 March for what promises to be a memorable literary experience.
Bernice teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysian campus in Semenyih, and is the author of six books, spanning poetry, non-fiction and fiction—in which her ancestors’ lives and the histories of Malaysia, Singapore, India and China with which they were entwined often take precedence. She is also a playwright, photographer and filmmaker, and was Director of Penang’s George Town Literary Festival between 2011 and 2013. Her work has attracted critical acclaim from many quarters.
Our event will begin with Bernice reading two pertinent poems selected respectively from The Book of Sins (2008) and Onkalo (2013). The former is a candid yet tender exploration of marriage, motherhood and the self. Onkalo, literally meaning cave or cavity, is a collection in which her expansive political concerns and intimate personal reflections collide. This prelude to the ‘hands-on’ segment of the evening is bound to inspire you to draw confidently and productively on your own heritage and memories, gathering fertile material for spontaneous expression and for poems to come.
As places for the workshop are strictly limited, we kindly request your RSVP by Friday 1st March. Successful respondents (only) will be notified by email.
‘There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.