Twin Cities

EXCITING NEWS! Announcing the first twin cinema collection in the world, and the first collection of original English-language poetry by poets from Hong Kong and Singapore!

Perhaps Hong Kong is a city of cinema. From the neo-noir neon stylings of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, to the stylised longing of early Wong Kar Wai, through the boom years of Cinema City and larger-than-life film stars, she has played host to countless cinematic moments with her cosmopolitan beauty.

And perhaps Singapore is a city of form. Structure drives everything in this rigidly planned city-state—traffic lights and electronic road pricing and meters and out-of-bounds markers; a system that runs like clockwork; and a citizenry nominally cultured in conformity. The city contains multitudes from every race and creed, yet in our lives we strictly colour inside the box, queue wordlessly around the block and stand behind the yellow line.

Combine the two, and what do you get?—The twin cinema.

The twin cinema is a rigid, yet spectacular poetic form that mixes constraint with possibility. Its twin columns can be read vertically down as discrete poems, yet you can also hop across the space between skyscrapers and find meaning that bridges the gap horizontally for each line. It can be used to contrast two opposed points of view, or find a common bridge across a seemingly insurmountable gap—juxtaposition, after all, is at the heart of modern cinema. It was coined by the Singaporean poet Yeow Kai Chai.

In this project edited by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming (founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal) and Joshua Ip (founder of Sing Lit Station), poets from the twin cities, Singapore and Hong Kong, will tackle the challenge of the twin cinema form in tandem with their own interpretation of the ties that bind or divide the two. We share some links of cultural heritage, postcolonial history, rich financial centres and trading ports with the hectic life that follows, and also the sense of a hinterland yawning just across the water. Yet we also rival each other in numerous fields, and are divided by language, by geography, and political affiliation and situation. This is fertile ground for poetry—and may it grow cities.

We will be opening for submissions from now until Saturday 3 June 2017. Submission details are available here.


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born poet, editor, translator and academic. She is the founding co-editor of the first Hong Kong-based online literary journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and an editor of the academic journals Victorian Network and Hong Kong Studies. She has edited or co-edited several volumes of fiction and poetry from Hong Kong: Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology (Department of English, HKU, 2006), Love & Lust (Hong Kong Writers’ Circle, 2008), Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz (Chameleon, 2014) and Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha (Chameleon, 2016). She has published essays on, among other research areas, Hong Kong literature, culture, and politics and Chinese literature and translation, while her translations of others’ writings can be found in World Literature Today, Chinese Literature Today and Drunken Boat. Her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (Chameleon, 2015) and in 2016, she was awarded the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for her poetry and contribution to the local writing community. She is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, where she teaches poetics, fiction, and modern drama. She is also a Vice President of PEN Hong Kong, relaunched in November 2016.

Joshua Ip is the author of three volumes of poetry from Math Paper Press. His debut collection, sonnets from the singlish (2012) won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014. He won the Golden Point Award for English Prose in 2013, was runner-up for English Poetry in 2011, and received a Honorable Mention for Chinese Poetry in 2015. He has co-edited six poetry anthologies: A Luxury We Cannot Afford (2014), SingPoWriMo 2014: The Anthology (2014), SingPoWriMo 2015: The Anthology (2015), SingPoWriMo 2016: The Anthology (2016), A Luxury We Must Afford (2016), and Unfree Verse (2017). He is currently working on his first graphic novel, Ten Stories Below (2016). He is the founder of Sing Lit Station, a literary charity that runs multiple community initiatives, including SingPoWriMo, Manuscript Bootcamp, and several workshop groups. He also writes an irregular column, Ipster Cafe, for The Middle Ground.


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