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7 Day Poetry Challenge

We recently put one of our book elves (who isn't the biggest poetry fan) on a 7 day poetry challenge, and this is her journey through the "almost ordeal".


DAY 1: The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner

The Hatred of Poetry, like the title suggests, focuses on hatred for poetry. Except, it discusses a very specific kind of hatred, not entirely a consumer's hatred nor a poet's hatred; somewhere in between is what I would say it is. It was also the reason I thought the entire book was pretty much meh. Nothing about the content was special enough to stand out to me. Well, maybe except the title itself, it's the only thing I liked about this book. With that being said, ironically, thanks to this book, I very much prefer poetry now as long as nobody gives me something like this book ever again.

p.s. I believe if you enjoy poetry, you might find more enjoyment (than me) reading this book.


DAY 2: Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

Not going to lie, I have absolutely no idea what I just absorbed from Life on Mars. I resonated with none of the poems. I have a feeling I am simply a lost cause when it comes to understanding, appreciating and enjoying poetry. On a brighter side, I did enjoy Tracy's writing. Despite not actually knowing what I was reading, I kept thinking to myself "damn, her words are beautiful!"; beautiful and lyrical are the only words I can use to describe how I felt.

p.s. I still don't see the appeal of poetry.


DAY 3: No Other City ed. by Aaron Lee and Alvin Pang

Wow, I did not finish this book, I was almost there but I gave up in the end. This is coming from me, who always finishes a book however long it takes. Long story short, I've learnt that anthologies aren't my thing. However, it's cool to get through at least half of this book and realise there are so many tiny details about Singapore I know, but never actually bothered to think about (or appreciate). At least I got something out of this, I think.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much there is to No Other City – Singapore, more Singapore, endless Singapore... (I got bored.)

p.s. Poetry does not require full pages of why do the books have to be so big?


DAY 4: Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe

Once again, conquered another but failed to celebrate the win. I read everything, understood some, did not understand more, liked a couple and related to none. Also, I am still deciding whether I liked the bit where the language I was reading was English, but the vibe I got off it was extremely Chinese. It felt weird at first, but then I got cool with it. I guess, I'm indifferent.

p.s. It's Day 4 and I am not loving poetry any more, or hating poetry any less; whichever sounds better for poetry.


DAY 5: Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Yes, it took me a while to complete Ariel, only because I kinda got sick of reading for the past couple of days. Now that I'm finally done with it, I can say, this is really not bad (coming from someone who definitely still detests poetry). I obviously still do not understand the underlying meaning of more than half the poems here, but Sylvia's writing is something else. She uses some of the most morbid lines as if they don't actually hold darker meanings. For example, she used the line "coffin of a midget or a square baby" to describe a bee box, a bee box! It's kinda dark, and I'm all for it.

p.s. Two more to go!!! This is a whole lot harder than I expected.


DAY 6: Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience by Ng Yi-Sheng

This is by far the most Singaporean poetry I've read. To be fair, I've never actually delved into poetry before this challenge. And even with Day 3's challenge, Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience still takes the crown. So, I might not have enjoyed the content but I really liked the language. It reminded me of home and that's saying something because I haven't left Singapore in more than a year as I type this.

p.s. Weirdly enough, after Yong Siak Street Party – specifically Yi-Sheng's performances – I can hear him while reading his poems.


DAY 7: Sonnets from the Singlish by Joshua Ip

Hm... Remember what I said just one day ago? If that took the crown in being the most Singaporean poetry I'd ever come across, then Sonnets from the Singlish is the crown. Ya'know what? As if I can be the judge, I am not well exposed to poetry, much less local poetry.

I digress, back to topic! I love the book cover, I mean, LOOK at it. During this whole challenge, I was continuously disappointed with the book covers until this last day. Thank you, to the person who designed this cover. As for the poetry, I enjoyed most of it, I remember laughing at some as well. Sadly, as enjoyable as they were, they meant nothing to me. (Like watching a hilarious film but coming out of it with nothing to discuss.) Then again, who am I to judge, right?

p.s. HOLY MOTHER OF EARTH! I am finally done with this challenge! T'was a perfect book to end with as I really needed that short-lived entertainment none of the other days gave me.



I'm sure my postscripts are self-explanatory enough. This was an interesting experience I never would have participated in if not for my fellow book elves. Unfortunately, I think this is where my journey with poetry ends. After all, I'm still very much a fiction/novel kind of gal.

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