Bookends

Poet Euginia Tan’s third book, Phedra, is out on Saturday.
Poet Euginia Tan’s third book, Phedra, is out on Saturday. PHOTO: ST FILE

Who: Euginia Tan, 25, poet Tan started writing poetry at age eight and has self-published two poetry collections: Songs About Girls (2012) and Playing Pretty (2013).

Her third book is out next month. Phedra (2016, Ethos Books, $16 before GST) is a poetry collection of re-interpreted mythology, with an emphasis on female identity. It will be launched on Saturday, from 5 to 7 pm, at Artistry Cafe, 17 Jalan Pinang.

What are you reading now?

I am reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and want to read Occupational Hazards, a poetry collection by Mayo Martin.

I enjoy how Eugenides careens through his characters' family lineage so effortlessly. For me, when I was writing Phedra, I was dedicating a lot of time trying to think about my grandmothers and the time they lived in. It was difficult for me.


Occupational Hazards by Mayo Martin

But Middlesex did that beautifully - the quilt of his book does not seem patchworked, but an heirloom that has been passed down.


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

As for Occupational Hazards, I'm curious because I've been reading Martin's pieces in the newspapers for a while and I think he has wonderful commentaries, so I want to understand how he approaches poetry.


My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would grab the first book I see because I probably did not anticipate the fire.

The books that are the most reachable are by Roald Dahl, who brewed my love of reading and books. I think I have every published book of his in English.

Now that I am grown up, of course, I will save a book of his that was written more for adults: My Uncle Oswald. It is funny and raunchy and would probably cheer me up from the loss of my whole library.

  • Occupational Hazards by Mayo Martin (2013, Math Paper Press, $16) is available at BooksActually. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30.75) and My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (1979, Penguin Books, $26.81) are available at Books Kinokuniya.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 28, 2016, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe