Eight writers from the UK, Ireland, Iran, Australia and Singapore gathered in the Arts
House Chamber and celebrated their personal heroes tonight through the written
word. Moderated by poet Marc Nair who described the Singapore Writers Festival
reading-and- performance event as “a dessert buffet” of sorts, the strong line-up of
artists indeed dished out a feast of tantalizing treats for all, with an assortment of
flavours for every kind of palate: poetry, song, sound art and the spoken word.
The power of poetry and poetry reading was testament as the audience shared
laughter and tears through the 90-minute event. Especially poignant was when
Deborah Emmanuel (Singapore) came on stage with an honesty so raw it brought
tears to many eyes, as she shared vulnerably about her late mother being “the one
hero who always sticks”. The mood in the chambers lightened slightly when Pooja
Nansi (Singapore) took to the stage, with a humorous poem about her childhood idol
While some mourned their unsung heroes and others worshipped celebrity icons,
Sholeh Wolpé (Iran-USA) gave an outstanding poetry reading while paying tribute to
her personal literary hero – Iranian poet and an advocate for the female voice –
Forugh Farrokhzad. Describing her as the one who “kicked open the door of
freedom” for all the rest of the women in Iran to come through, Wolpé gave a lovely
and emotive reading of Farrokhzad’s poem ‘I Pity the Garden’ – a poem pointing to
the superficiality and self-centredness of the bourgeois in her home country.
Amidst stories about pioneers who paved their way for revolution, friends who stood by them in darkness, mothers who rooted for them in times of chaos, about fathers who gave them their first love for music, I’m sure everyone left believing that we all can be heroes, just for one day.
By Sarah Tang for Bakchormeeboy
Performance attended 5/11/17
The 2017 Singapore Writers Festival runs till 12th November. To book tickets to other Singapore Writer’s Festival Events, visit their website here