by Aaron Lee Soon Yong
Tell me again where home is, where inhabit all the holy hours, where someday you will find me. - from "Time Lapse"
Coastlands is Aaron Lee's third collection of poetry. Whether in a small town or frenetic city, the poet has never lived far from the sea. This book documents his life experience as a pilgrim still finding his place in the wider world. In these fifty poems he recollects, explores, embraces and anticipates what is lost and found in each of the places he calls home: Malaysia, Singapore and Hawaii. Everywhere, natural and urban landscapes anchor and influence his identity and connect him to humanity.
In ancient writings "coastlands" means the far reaches of the earth--places accessible only by crossing oceans of unknown magnitude. Truly, life is a voyage from which the traveller never returns.
About the Author
Aaron Lee is a prize-winning poet, writing mentor, community organiser and banking lawyer. He has three poetry collections to date, the latest being Coastlands (2014), which was launched at the Singapore Writers Festival. His first poetry collection, A Visitation of Sunlight (1997) was voted one of the year's best books by The Straits Times (1997). His second collection Five Right Angles was a finalist in the 2008 Singapore Literature Prize awards. He has co-edited several poetry anthologies including the best-selling No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (2000). Lee's work has been published internationally and performed at international festivals and conferences. He is married to Namiko Chan Takahashi, a multi-disciplinary artist, and they live in Singapore.
"Coastlands is shaped and driven by an esemplastic power and a persuasive, lyrical flow. These poems possess a notable immediacy, profound resonance and imaginative unity. By sharing the poet's meditative and philosophical explorations, the reader is enriched in the best possible way."
- Edwin Thumboo
"Fragile intimations of the complex modern reality."
- Louis James, Emeritus Professor, University of Kent
"A litany of delicate, softly throbbing verse--a gift from the upper reaches of all things bright, beautiful and blessedly rendered."
- Alfred A. Yuson, Winner, South East Asia Write Award
"[Able] to hold zany glimpses of humanity up to a light that is at once witty, sad and compassionate."
- Rajeev S. Patke & Philip Holden, The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English (2010)
"New hard shapes of poetry against an easy realism... what Lee leaves behind is the itch of conscience, very elemental dust."
- Gwee Li Sui, Poet
“... faith underlies unobtrusively Aaron Lee’s work and perhaps accounts for his unusual capacity to question life, nation and self to painful limits without destroying himself or his readers.”
- Agnes S.L. Lam, Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language & Literature
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ISBN: 978-981-09-2478-2 (paperback) / 978-981-14-1212-7 (e-book)
Dimension: 120mm x 200mm