Patient History

Launch Details

We are entering a summer of poetry! Patient History by Tricia Tan launches at Epigram Bookshop @ Singapore Art Museum:

  • Meet the poet Tricia Tan, a young physician who believes in the capacity of words to heal.

  • Listen to selected poems from her collection.

  • Get a consultation with poetry doctors from Ethos Books, Kah Gay and Zining - details below!

25 May 2024 (Saturday)

2.00 - 2.30pm: Launch of Patient History
2.30 - 5.30pm: Poetry Clinic Day 1 - attending doctor(s): Mok Zining (Ethos editor); Ng Kah Gay (Ethos publisher)

26 May 2024 (Sunday)

2.30 - 5.30pm: Poetry Clinic Day 2 - attending doctor(s): Kah Gay

Pre-order your copy of Patient History from our webstore. Each purchase is also a ticket to a poetry consultation with Kah Gay or Zining. Pick up your pre-ordered copy of Patient History as well as the queue number for your consultation from the Ethos folks at Epigram Bookshop on 25 or 26 May. The idea is also for you to explore Epigram Bookshop and Singapore Art Museum before and after the launch.

Didn't pre-order? No worries! Walk-in customers who purchase Patient History from Epigram Bookshop can also join the queue and participate in the clinic. Can’t attend the clinic? Choose the delivery option.

About the Book

“Patient history” is a medical term describing the method by which doctors gather information about a patient’s past and present conditions. Yet, how much of a patient’s history do doctors really know, and how much agency do we have in determining our own histories?

Patient History is a whimsical exploration of the typically grim world of sickness and death. Woven from pop culture, fairytales, and East-meets-West childhood memories of growing up in Singapore, these fantasies are cotton candy sweet—osteoporosis becomes Singapore’s signature Chili Crab, a fistula transfigures into fairy, and organs are commemorated as a theme park.


Patient History

Slide to see

Book + Clinic (Self-collect on 25/26 May)


$16.00 SGD

Paperback (delivery)


$16.00 SGD


"The poems in Patient History navigate a mother's illness through lush imagery and aquarium mind. The poems are also unafraid to refract illness and memory through different forms... in Patient History, the cataloguing of beautiful images acts as question marks to an uncertain mind, and the uncertainty amidst illness." —Victoria Chang, author of The Trees Witness Everything; Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief ; and Obit

"Patient History is a whimsical coming of age against the sobering backdrop of death and disease. Tricia Tan has a gift of drawing out sensory delight, and even wonderment, from the stark reality of ailing bodies. She subverts the conventions of a poetry collection by inviting you to join in her games of imagination through activity pages. You will find a refreshing antidote to despair at the brokenness of our world." —Amanda Chong

“A hospital ward becomes an aquarium, the body a rainforest, a mass in the womb a sun. These poems are equal parts whimsy, medical emergency and existential crisis. Here is art that marries mortality to beauty and fantasy as a way to discern, withstand, come to terms, offer comfort, courage, hope. Bewildering juxtapositions, pictorial interventions, haiku-esque summations of feeling; this is elemental poetry that strives to fulfil a fundamental purpose, drawing the spirit towards recovery, even transcendence.” —Cyril Wong, poet and fictionist

“Tricia Tan’s glorious debut is nothing short of a dazzling showcase. Patient History dares to be many adventurous, teeming things - eye-poppingly and mind-bogglingly so. Still, all the disparate texts seat well, in an orchestral coherence that almost defies its own quiet, veiled logic. In this doctor-poet’s good hands, all detail is studied and measured; no language is left reckless or unturned. The reader is witness to the deep care that remains always attendant, this controlled experiment in lyric-narrative issuing its aesthetic intelligence with cool confidence, yet holding together such an array of important emotional truths. This is the most imposing, curious, sumptuous incoming to appear in a long time. Already a winning collection, Tricia Tan’s Patient History is a tour de force, no less.” —Desmond Francis Xavier Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé Recipient of Singapore Literature Prize


Tricia Tan