by Grace Chia
• Cordelia was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize 2014 (English Poetry Category).
Cordelia, Grace Chia’s second poetry collection, excavates from the imagery of life, art and modernity to create a mélange of fragmented colours in remembering the past, musing on the present and imagining the fantastic. The voice of the poet is visceral yet contemplative, sensual and surreal; it lingers with a satisfying piquancy long after it’s heard.
About the Author
Grace Chia is the author of womango, a poetry collection published in 1998, and two non-fiction books. Her poetry and short stories have been widely anthologised in Singapore, the US, Australia, Germany, France, and Serbia, including in Singapore Literature in English: An Anthology, Mining for Meaning, Merlion: An Anthology of Poems,SilverKris, Fish Eats Lion, Di-Verse-City(US), HOW2 (US), Stylus Poetry Journal (Australia), die horen (Germany), La Traductière (France)and Knijzevne Novine (Serbia). Her works have been translated into French, German and Serbian.
Grace was invited to read at the Singapore Writers’ Festival in 2011, Austin International Poetry Festival in the US and Queensland Poetry Festival in Brisbane, Australia, in 2002, and National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle, Australia in 2003, as well as UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Clara, Royal College of Art and Guildhall School of Music & Drama in the UK.
A recipient of many awards from the Singapore International Foundation and National Arts Council (NAC), she is the NAC-NTU National Writer-in-Residence for 2011-2012.
"These poems are prickly to fierce and fiery affairs, more seasoned arrows than gems, thrusting into the skin of pretense and complacency. Passionate and uncompromising, Grace Chia is a poet who prefers to reveal what others work hard to conceal, with some carnage and hard-earned truths to decorate her pages."
– Cyril Wong, author of The Dictator's Eyebrow, Let Me Tell You Something About the Night and Unmarked Treasure
“Cordelia is the long-awaited second book by émigré Grace Chia, the only female voice in the enigmatic third wave of Singapore poets. With the sinister urgency and contemporary humanism of Cordelia, Grace completes the critical arc initiated by womango, to seal her reputation as the Sylvia Plath of Singapore."
– Daren Shiau, author of Heartland, Peninsular: Archipelagos and Other Islands and Velouria.
“It is rare to get such a range of experience in a single collection of poems. There are four sections: each looks a different way into different experiences with a different rhythm, style and degree of distance from the subject; like different neighbourhoods of the same city. Throughout, there is a real sense of a single life, highly varied and intensively lived, perceived and recorded. It does this without fear. Grace’s name in Mandarin is translated as "demure cloud" but the collection starts with a thunderstorm of emotions and perceptions, frantic, raucous and sometimes comic. As you move through the book, you will encounter social poems, family poems, travel poems, coming home poems, music poems, poetry poems and childbirth poems but the ones that cut the deepest into the reader's consciousness are poems of love and desire. They are open and direct and you cannot avoid their unaffected power.”
– Timothy O’ Grady, author of I Could Read The Sky and Motherland.
“Sensitive and evocative, Grace Chia's poetry is more than equal to her wry and poignant observations of love and life. A worthy, long-awaited follow-up to her first volume, womango.”
– Felix Cheong, author of I Watch the Stars Go Out and Sudden In Youth: New and Selected Poems
“These poems pull electricity up from the magmatic earth and down from an ether crawling with myth and dream. They’re abundantly playful, riding hard on accelerated blood and jumpy nerves through broad, wild soundscapes. The passions written here are intimate but never closed. The poet brings the reader into a close and lively experience of the body and its layered realms as she roves from igloos to volcanoes to the rivers and quays of home. Home may never be quite familiar to this curious, unsettling gaze, but its pleasures, like many others, are richly rendered here.”
– Jen Crawford, author of Bad Appendix and Napolean Swings
“The collection is driven by a dogged determination to deliver female sexuality from the masculine parameters that have historically circumscribed it, and what emerges is a decensored relation of a woman to her sexuality that is brazen, violent and troubling.”
– Wernmei Yong Ade, Assistant Professor with the Division of English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Review of Books
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Dimension: 120mm x 200mm