A Bad Girl's Book of Animals

From the Winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize 2022

Available in paperback and e-book* format. Paperback + E-book bundle available below: Get the e-book at 50% off with each purchase of a paperback.

*The e-book for this title is in fixed-layout format. This means that you can enjoy the poems in their original format, as the author intended. 

Wong May’s poems are concerned with the ultimate loneliness, the inarticulateness and the inability to communicate fully that are the marks of human life. “My poems,” says Wong May, “are about wordlessness rather than words. I feel that we must recognize our ultimate wordlessness.”

What is most impressive about Wong May’s poems is her mastery of the implicit, her marvelously effective elliptical style that nevertheless strikes sharp blows of beauty and clarity.
—Harcourt, Brace & World

Wong May’s startlingly original poetry gleams with wit; her delicate but acute irony balances its lucid seriousness with a fizzing verbal lightness.
—Windham-Campbell Prize

First published in the US in 1969, and reissued in Singapore 54 years later, A Bad Girl’s Book of Animals continues to astound, intrigue, and endure. 

(Book cover description: The poet's name "Wong May" is in pink text on the top-centre of the book cover. The book title "A Bad Girl's Book of Animals" cascades in small letters from top left to bottom of the book cover, one word per line, in beige text against the teal background. Spreading across the bottom-right to the top-right of the book cover is a vertical illustration of half of the scaly body of a fish and its fin, drawn in black.)

Read sample pages here.


A Bad Girl's Book of Animals

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$18.60 SGD



$18.60 SGD


I looked for the animals in A Bad Girl’s Book of Animals, eventually realizing that the poems are the animals. Vivid, evasive, brutally intelligent, and driven by the heat of instinct, the poems baffle, inviting readers to reflect on their unease. —Jennifer Chang, New England Review

Wong May has been a ghost in Singapore’s poetic canon, and as writers and readers have dug more deeply into our literary history, we rediscovered Wong May, who was hitherto barely known, yet right there from the beginning. —Daryl Lim Wei Jie, Asian Books Blog

Reading Wong May's poems is really reading her, as a poet, as a person [...] this transnational poet who frustrates our very Singaporean desire to fit things into boxes and see things in binaries. She asserts this right to be an individual, to be opaque in a world that demands ease and access from women." —Vanessa Chan, Arts Equator


Wong May