Aryamati Runner Up Spotlight: Christian Yeo
As part of the 2021 Aryamati Poetry Prize, we have the pleasure of sharing with you poetry from each winner.
In particular, what we loved about this pamphlet, 'Horizons', was Yeo's craft and startling language. Thematically, the exploration of capitalism within Singapore and experiences of mental health during the unique experience of migrants in this country proved to be powerful and captivating.
Christian has chosen a poem from his chapbook to give you a feel for his work...
Every unbroken thing
We come bearing gifts, in other words a box of curry puffs. One-two punch drunk lying on cardboard beneath the bridge by our complex. Slashed waist bag and hair curling upwards into crawling cones, almost a slow becoming.
Unleavened, I knead grudging
five-minute-blocks into sheets
of batter (unhomed: selah). Where I listen hard enough I hear the songs of solomon. Some child and the breaking of the body for bread. When the sun sets you will come for me; tonight I will run criminal
astray and sell myself a conversation. One fell swoop a sultry backhand and a giving and taking and giving again – tomorrow I learn how to sew, hew backbone ridges into a crown of liver-spotted thorns. Angsana trees battered by rain. Shoulder to shoulder we stand in bunker raincoats chanting imprecatory psalms, roiling griefs asking for something akin to mercy, almost love.
Christian Yeo graduated with a BA in Law from Cambridge. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Mays, Anthropocene, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Menacing Hedge, Bad Betty Press ("The Book of Bad Betties"), Ethos Books ("This is not a safety barrier"), Ekstasis Magazine, The Tiger Moth Review, Given Grace, and the jfa human rights journal, among others; it won the Arthur Sale Poetry Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Sykes Prize, and the CUPPS Poetry and Prose Prize. His work has been performed at the Lancaster and Singapore Poetry Festivals, and he was a semi-finalist at UniSlam 2021.
You can find out more about the Aryamati Prize here and make sure you keep an eye out for the 2022 prize opening in Summer!