UnFree Verse

Second Edition


Rhyme is Shakespeare. Rhythm is rap. Sing Lit is free verse. If you’ve ever had such thoughts, let this book demolish them. With poems drawn from 80 years of print and online material, UnFree Verse illuminates an important but overlooked aspect of Singapore’s literary history: formal poetry in English. It features poets beloved and forgotten, immigrant and emigrant, Malayan and cosmopolitan, challenging readers to explore the dynamic landscape of poetry from, about, and around Singapore. In this collection, the formal poem becomes a focal point for the duelling forces of repetition and improvisation, standards and Englishes, freedom and boundaries. Might these constraints be fertile soil for creativity in a city like Singapore? If you think so, UnFree Verse belongs on your shelf. This new edition contains an expanded glossary, a list of further reading, and a new essay on rhyme. 

Read the editor's introduction and selected poems


UnFree Verse

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Tse Hao Guang, Joshua Ip, Theophilus Kwek


Alfian Sa’at, Ann Ang, Hedwig Anuar, John Augustin, Boey Kim Cheng, Jennifer Anne Champion, Felix Cheong, Christine Chia, Grace Chia, Justin Chin, Amanda Chong, Eileen Chong, Ian Chung, W. J. Crewe, Ee Tiang Hong, D. J. Enright, Goh Poh Seng, Goh Sin Tub, Gwee Li Sui, Heng Siok Tian, Denis Horle, Joshua Ip, G. Kanagabai, Bilahari Kausikan, Koh Buck Song, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, Theophilus Kwek, Aaron Lee, Anne Lee Tzu Pheng, Lee Jing-Jing, Madeleine Lee, Samuel Lee, Leong Liew Geok, Margaret Leong, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Nicholas Liu, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Aaron Maniam, Chris Mooney-Singh, Nabilah Said, Rohan Naidu, Devan Nair, Marc Nair, Leonard Ng, Ng Yi-Sheng, Ong Teong Hean, Alvin Pang, Cécile Parrish, Alistair Paterson, George Puthucheary, Charlene Shepherdson, Sng Boh Khim, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, George Szirtes, Tan Hui Shan, Ruth Tang, Eddie Tay, Simon Tay, Teh Su Ching, Teng Qian Xi, Teo Kah Leng, Teo Poh Leng, Tham Zhen Teng, Paul Theroux, Edwin Thumboo, G Toh, Toh Hsien Min, Samantha Toh, Tse Hao Guang, Eric Tinsay Valles, Wang Gungwu, Jason Wee, Cyril Wong, David Wong Hsien Ming, Eleanor Wong, Ian Wong, Wong Wen Pu, Angeline Yap, Arthur Yap, Robert Yeo, Yeow Kai Chai, Yin C. H., Zhang Ruihe