Diving into the ambivalences and contradictions that are as characteristic of a family as her triumphs, Jerrold Yam’s rousing debut poetry collection is a reaction to the precarious tilt from adolescence to adulthood.
The poems—which invoke subjects as diverse as childbirth, celebrity culture and National Service— extend beyond a struggle for acceptance amid the transcience of modern Singapore and into the universal territory of teenagehood. Growing up suggests an inexorable shift to adult sensibilites, but this transition is fraught with countervailing tensions of moving on, letting go and leaving behind. Yet, the collection ends with an optimism that is both agonising and courageous in its desperation for hope.
Alternately lyrical and experimental, confessional and incisive, Yam flexes his poetic versatility by combining ruthless introspection and hard-won catharsis. The ensuing redefinition of boundaries, between what must be left unsaid and what seeks reiteration, holds testimony to a voice that is unafraid of frankness—a voice ready to spearhead the next generation of Singaporean literature.
Page Count: 97