A Crackle of Flames, A Circle of Rainbow by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed translated by Zakaria Ali & Muhammad Herwanto Johari
A Crackle of Flames, A Circle of Rainbow by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed translated by Zakaria Ali & Muhammad Herwanto Johari

A Crackle of Flames, A Circle of Rainbow

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by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
translated by Zakaria Ali Muhammad Herwanto Johari 

Read the Contents Page and sample poems.

About the book

what is there to a poem
if the private parts of the whore
continue to be ruptured and tattered
and the price of a cup of coffee
is more
than the worth of a thousand words in poetry
“Forgive Me, Poetry”


Mohamed Latiff Mohamed’s poems are not written to be pretty: there is blood, pus, rape, slime, and death. How else can they be, if they are songs for the destitute, hums of the hungry, and tears of the wretched who have lost everything? And who else are they for, but the New Malays, who are cursed to inherit what has been lost. These are the heroes whose stories have faded, who may yet rise again under tomorrow’s moon.

This book brings together two collections of poems, published originally in Malay as Segumpal Api Selingkar Pelangi (A Crackle of Flames, A Circle of Rainbow) and Bila Rama-Rama Patah Sayapnya (When a Butterfly Broke its Wing), and translated into English respectively by Zakaria Ali and Muhammad Herwanto Johari.

About the author

Mohamed Latiff Mohamed is one of the most prolific writers to come after the first generation of writers in the Singapore Malay literary scene. His many accolades include the Montblanc-NUS Centre for the Arts Literary Award (1998), the SEA Write award (2002), the Tun Seri Lanang Award, Malay Language Council Singapore, Ministry of Communication, Information and Arts (2003), the National Arts Council Special Recognition Award (2009), the Cultural Medallion (2013), and the Singapore Literature Prize in 2004, 2006 and 2008. His works revolve around the life and struggles of the Malay community in post-independence Singapore, and have been translated into Chinese, English, German and Korean. Two of his novels have been translated into English as Confrontation (2013) and The Widower (2015).

About the translators

Professor Zakaria Ali teaches at the Faculty of Art, Computing and Creative Industry, Sultan Idris Education University, Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia.  From August to December 2014, he was Visiting Senior Fellow at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore. Dr Ali received his BFA from Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. He graduated with an MA from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas; an MA from Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico; and a PhD from Harvard University. His novel Empangan (The Dam) has been translated into English, German and Spanish. He received the SEA Write Award in 2003. His literary output includes art criticism, essays on art history, and translations of works by writers such as Pablo Neruda, Raja Ahmad Aminullah, Kassim Ahmad, Jorge Luis Borges, Siti Zainon Ismail, and Anisah Barakbah.

Muhammad Herwanto Johari has worked as an editor, translator, writer, designer, illustrator, programmer, content developer, lyricist, academic presenter, moderator and script writer. His contributions as a youth literary and social activist was recognised when he was conferred the Literary Arts Youth Activist award by Angkatan Sasterawan 50 in 2010. Herwanto is also the recipient of the Anugerah Harapan Persuratan (Aspiration Award) awarded by the Malay Language Council of Singapore for exhibiting significant potential in the production of literary works, active promotion of the literary arts scene, and sharing of works through creative and academic means.

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ISBN: 978-981-11-5180-4
Published: 2017
Dimension: 120mm x 200mm
Extent: 172
Finish: Paperback