My dissertation comprises 37 poems and a short story and is divided into two parts; the first, a series of dramatic monologues in the voices of marginalised characters like strippers and serial killers. The second half gathers poems more personal in nature, typical of the style of my two published volumes but with a difference - the feel is more exploratory, the tone less assured.
At the heart of this collection, then, is fragmentation, captured in the title and central image of being broken by something soft and easy as rain. To lose and locate myself in a hall of disembodied voices so that - to paraphrase T.S. Eliot - 1 come to know myself for the first time. For
...a man must place himself on a map
to see how big he is.
(Boey Kim Cheng, Somewhere-Bound 66)
In this respect, my critical essay is an exploration of Singapore poetry in English and where I situate myself in its history. Chapter one examines, in particular, issues related to the use of English in creative writing in Singapore.
At the same time, my critical essay also serves as a lens sharpening my own image of myself In this respect, chapter two analyses influences that have led me to poetry and how my poetic language has evolved over two published volumes. Chapter three discusses my drafting process, following the trajectory of a particular poem from idea to ideal, through the arc of its learning curve, as a way of making sense my methodology as a poet.