Absolutely honoured and chuffed to be part of this sumptuous, wicked anthology celebrating a new generation of Singaporean poets and writing. My poetry sits alongside poets and writers I have always admired—Anurak Saelaow, Hamid Roslan, Andrew Kirkrose Devadason, Jack Xi, Laetitia Keok, Lisabelle Tay, Lune Loh, Marylyn Tan, Mok Zining and so many, many others.
Thanks also to Michael Schmidt, editor of Carcanet’s New Poetries and of PN Review, for mentioning me in this blurb:
Ally Chua’s “The Boys in the Lineup” stands out as a kind of poem-blurb for New Singapore Poetries, an editorially policed line-up of suspects all guilty, in one way and another, of indecency, disrespect, transgression—and crucial originality. The politics—post-colonial, ecological, sexual—are vividly embodied in psalms, visual poems, elegies, sequences, satires…Michael Schmidt, editor of Carcanet’s New Poetries and of PN Review.
Get the book here.
Next year, if all goes well, will see my debut poetry collection published in May 2023 and my debut novel published at the end of 2023. Two debuts in one year. The chief emotion I feel is humbleness—I *am* very, very humbled by these acceptances. Thank you, Recent Work Press and Epigram Books.
The thing I really want to articulate is—despite these acceptances coming one after another now, my writing journey has been long, arduous, and often demoralising. I have a draining day job, so I used my lunch breaks and weekends to write.
Yet for the longest time, all I received was rejections. You may remember a post I made in 2020 about my Poetry Rejection Statistics—I was rejected over 48 times by journals that year.
Then, my poetry manuscript was rejected by over 20 American & SG presses (although it made the longlists on presses that I really admire).
When it was eventually accepted, the decision was reversed a short while later. I understood logically it was a business decision, yet that reversal devastated me.
What I am trying to say is—from 2016 to 2022, I had little to show for all the writing I did, over my free time and weekends. What I am trying to say is—it was extremely challenging to dredge up the motivation to keep writing. That well of motivation got drier and drier. At my lowest point, I remembered asking myself what was the point at all. Why do I keep at it? Why was publication so important to me?
So even though these two acceptances may seem close to each other (& I hope people don’t think I am touting one achievement after another), there are two statements I keep thinking about, over and over.
One – these manuscripts were a long time in the making.
Two – I worked so, so, so hard for this.
Honoured to be in the shortlist with such esteemed company!!!
Thank you Epigram Books, Edmund Wee, Jason Erik Lundberg and other editors for seeing the potential in my work.
PS: This means Michelle Yeoh will be reading my manuscript so fuck yeah I’m already blessed and cannot ask for more thank youuu