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Book Review

Ars Poetica for the Day

Incredible Lightness of Being Alive

By Charissa Joy Ng

Ars Poetica_Final Cover revised ISBN


Title: Ars Poetica for the Day
By Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

Published by Ethos Book
Price: $16
No. of pages: 106 pages
Available online on Select Books and Ethos Books websites

Beautifully penned and described, this collection of poems discusses almost everything we come across in life – from family to questions in life; from fantasy to things of the moment; from thoughts on relationship to reminders of living out good values.

These enriching, thought-provoking narrative pieces are celebratory rather than commemorative. Enacting a journey of rediscovery, they rewind time to the poet’s beginnings, returning to her memories of her birthplace and sophisticated heritage.

Since her debut, the poet’s life and work have revolved around the movement between real and imaginary, and between borders as she shuttles back and forth between Asia and California.

Her retirement occurs very soon after her successful cancer treatment, after her bout with the fears of life. She has translated these life experiences into the words that only she can express through this book.

These new poems reveal a happy and confident, light-hearted flow of thoughts. They show a jubilant playfulness of language that is shown more evidently than in earlier collections of works.

Boey Kim Cheng, a Singapore-born Australian poet, commented that “the use of the enjambment and lineation as well as rhymes, lend the poems in this collection a spontaneous lightness of spirit and voice”.

What touches the hearts of the readers are the poems on family and home, as she recounts her life story through repetitive words like “Homing pigeons, home schooled, home cooking. Homing device where the heart is – neither infallible for the home stretch”. Such simple words, yet they tug the heartstrings.

For those who may not read poems, Ars Poetica for the Day is worth a read to take a glimpse into a life that has been through ups and downs. An inspirational and heart-warming piece of work indeed.

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