What's stalking Thumboo the poet

Edwin Thumboo, whose latest collection is titled A Gathering Of Themes, says the poetic process can be terrifying, in which 'the creature you energised, begins to stalk its maker'

A Gathering Of Themes (above) by Edwin Thumboo (left) gathers 109 poems, from sweeping works on history and nationhood to reflections on religion to love poems about his wife.
A Gathering Of Themes by Edwin Thumboo (above) gathers 109 poems, from sweeping works on history and nationhood to reflections on religion to love poems about his wife.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

In To A Young Poet, the poem that closes his new collection, pre-eminent Singaporean poet Edwin Thumboo writes: "You will learn that, near the end/ The creature you energised/ Begins to stalk its maker."

It is an unsettling way to look at the poetic process. "Oh, it can be terrifying," chortles Thumboo, who has been dubbed Singapore's "unofficial poet laureate".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'What's stalking Thumboo the poet'. Print Edition | Subscribe