by Theophilus Kwek
Giving Ground refers to an act of yielding, or compromise—an active passivity, not unlike the act of writing itself. In his third collection, Theophilus Kwek enters and examines the unfamiliar, giving himself over to the power of place to transform thought and language. At the same time, he gains new ground, finding other homes and histories that change the way he sees his own city.
About the Author
Theophilus Kwek has published two previous collections, They Speak Only Our Mother Tongue (2011) and Circle Line (2013), which was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize. He is a winner of the Jane Martin Prize and the Martin Starkie Prize, and his poems have appeared in The London Magazine, The Interpreter’s House, the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore, and various anthologies. He studies History and Politics at Merton College, Oxford, and is currently President of the Oxford University Poetry Society, as well as Content Advisor to the Oxford Culture Review.
“In his precocious debut at eighteen, Kwek showed remarkable maturity of perception, accuracy of observation, lucidity of language and visual clarity in evoking striking vignettes of home. These qualities have been further honed since and are now carried by the music of the line, compelling cadences that embody the rhythms of travel and catch the nuances of encounters with a wide range of landscapes and people. Poem after poem brings back reports of the world out there in arresting images that subtly but inexorably provoke thoughts of where and what home is.”
– Boey Kim Cheng
“Beware the cunningly diffident title. Theophilus Kwek gains incredible mileage from his surrender to the proper stately rhythms of his muse. These warm, Anglophilic poems are large of heart and hold the ocean of a young earth that is feeling its every ripple.”
– Gwee Li Sui, poet and critic
“How much ground is covered in these thoughtful poems through the seen, unseen and in-between! Kwek speaks with the care and intimacy of a close companion, sharing the wonder in wandering. Here is the ‘heart’s geography’ ('Edinburgh'), a search for meaningful connection on a journey that delights and inspires.”
– Lavinia Singer, Editor, Oxford Poetry
"[T]his is a fascinating collection about mapping and locating a sense of home by giving in to the unfamiliar."
– Madiha Ramlan, Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language & Literature
• • •ISBN: 978-981-09-8599-8 (paperback) | 978-981-14-2619-3 (e-book)
Dimension: 200mm x 120mm x 6.1mm (width)