Every year, loads of new books are launched and/or featured at the Singapore Writers Festival. An avid reader himself, poet Crispin Rodrigues reviews five books of poetry and prose that featured at this year’s edition.
Deborah Emmanuel, Genesis (Self-published, 2018)
Deborah Emmanuel's second collection of poetry "Genesis" breathes new life into organic verses. The collection is really a multimedia work of art, with very apt and lush illustrations accompanying the poems. While the medium is static, one cannot help but be enthralled by the strong cadence that each poem sings. Each poem mixes the discourse of the structural and strikes it over the head, word by word, with blunt force trauma until nature can grow through the cracks. What is really beautiful about the book is that is feels more like one is reading a community rather than just a single voice, incorporating music lyrics and a communal understanding of breath as a means of speaking through something larger than the self. The work is spiritual in the way that it attempts to amalgamate these voices into something larger than itself, possessing so much soul in the use of anaphoric, declarative lines that hark back to Emmanuel’s spoken word background. Poems such as “Imperfect” and “Warcry” are mantras that are worth meditating on and draw strength from their frankness and honesty. It is not a long book, so I strongly recommend you read through the collection in one sitting for maximum effect.