Showing posts from March, 2017


The zoetrope is an invented poetic form that originated in Singapore. 
Contents 1Structure2Variations3Examples History
The zoetrope was created by Singapore poet Yeow Kai Chai for the commission forFifty on 50, the Ethos anthology of poems written by 50 poets to commemorate the 50thyear of Singapore’s independence in 2009.
The poem for the anthology was ‘From A to Z, A Zoetrope Spins in Commemoration of Your Independence’, and the idea was to create a whirlwind effect of change and movement, reflecting the dizzying pace of development in Singapore. StructureThe form is an abecedarian format, a 26-line poem with each line comprising words containing a common letter. In other words, words in the first line contain “a”, words in the second line “b”, and so forth, till the 26th line which comprises words with “z” in them. The zoetrope, together with the twin cinema, is part of Yeow's cinematic obsession, a tribute to film which has influenced and inspired his writing in various ways. Example…

twin cinema

The twin cinema is an invented poetic form that originated in Singapore. 
Contents 1Structure2Variations3Examples HistoryThe first twin cinema was written by Yeow Kai Chai in the Jul 2010 issue of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, entitled "Begone dull care". It was subtitled "twin cinema comprising bolts and nuts of unrelated scenes, some pilfered." Kai Chai has been mentioned as being inspired by John Ashbery's "Litany", a 65-page poem written in two columns, published in the 1979 collection "As You Know". The form was named after the 2005 album of the same name by the Canadian indie rock band The New Pornographers.

David Wong further explored this form in the titular poem of his debut collection, "For The End Comes Reaching". He added further definition and functionality to the form, defining it as being able to be read across or as two discrete columns. 

The form caught on during Singapore Poetry Writing Month 2016, despite not b…


Asingbol: Form & History
The asingbol was invented by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé in 2010, as a response to an interview with Trapeze Magazine. Using the twitter character count as an Oulipian constraint, the asingbol is composed of exactly 140 characters including spaces.
Written as a single clause, all the words are not capitalised, with the sentence always end-stopping on a period to emphasise its statement of exposition and assertion. The asingbol attempts the near impossible – to be completely literal, at the points of its making and its subsequent reading, devoid of irony or metaphor as if to make disappear the hyperbole altogether. It is written like a dictionary entry espousing a single definition. It is also incapable of being read as symbolic. It celebrates the text as pure object.
In The A List, Desmond stated that the asingbol “was conceived as an expedient form for an expedient nation” – it is essentially an “impossible” poem, befitting of the “improbable nation” borne…


The udaiyaathathu is a classic Southeast Asian poetic form with influences from South Asia. It is also known as "the unbroken form". It is a formal variant of a Tamil hymnal device known as antāti, which means "end-beginning".  andaiplosis is achieved where the last word of each verse is the first word of the next  

Contents 1Structure2Variants3Examples
StructureStructurally, the first word of every line in the udaiyaathathu is also the last word of the next line. This chain continues unbroken until the very last line of the udaiyaathathu, where the first word of the last line is the last word of the first line of the piece.

This is similar to the antāti, in which anadiplosis occurs where the last word of each verse is the first word of the next verse, and epanalepsis occurs where the last word of the last verse is the first word of the first - however, in the udaiyaathathu, the epanalepsis is reversed to occur across each couplet and the anadaiplosis occurs with the…

empat perkataan

The empat perkataan is a traditional Southeast Asian poetic form originating from the Malaccan Empire in the 15th century. It was popular among inhabitants of the Riau Archipelago and Malay Peninsula. It is primarily associated with Austronesian languages such as MalayTagalogSundanese and Javanese, but modern examples can also be found in English. The term is derived from the Malay words for 'four' and 'words'. Singaporean poets including Alvin Pang have been reviving the form for its elegance, versatility and association with Language poetry. The earliest example of the modern empat perkataan is "Inventory", which can be found in Dr Lee Tzu Pheng's 1991 anthology, "The Brink of an Amen".  [Wikipedia] Contents 1Structure2Variants3Examples Structure[edit] The classic empat perkataan abides by the following rules and has no fixed length. All lines consist of exactly four words.The four words should not proceed in traditional sentence form but co…


The liwuli is a poetic form derived from Asian (particularly Southeast Asian) literary and rhetorical traditions. The liwuli can be in any language, although it is most commonly composed in one or more of the major languages used in Malaysia and Singapore, where the form is most commonly practised. The singular and plural of the noun liwuli are the same. While some have referred to multiple poems as "liwulis", this is incorrect. This similarly occurs with haiku, which is one of the predecessors of the liwuli form. Known users of the form include Singaporean poets Alvin Pang and Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde.
Contents 1Structure2Variations3Examples StructureIn its most basic form, a liwuli consists of three stanzas: 1. The first stanza contains exactly 31 syllables in the form of a prose poem. The first stanza is phrased as imperatives or instructions. 2. The second stanza consists of 14 syllables, broken into 3 lines. The length and subject of each line is left to the poet's dis…