Perhaps Hong Kong is a city of cinema. From the neo-noir neon stylings of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, to the stylised longing of early Wong Kar Wai, through the boom years of Cinema City and larger-than-life film stars, she has played host to countless cinematic moments with her cosmopolitan beauty.
And perhaps Singapore is a city of form. Structure drives everything in this rigidly planned city-state—traffic lights and electronic road pricing and meters and out-of-bounds markers; a system that runs like clockwork; and a citizenry nominally cultured in conformity. The city contains multitudes from every race and creed, yet in our lives we strictly colour inside the box, queue wordlessly around the block and stand behind the yellow line.
Combine the two, and what do you get?—The twin cinema.
The twin cinema is a rigid, yet spectacular poetic form that mixes constraint with possibility. Its twin columns can be read vertically down as discrete poems, yet you can also hop across the space between skyscrapers and find meaning that bridges the gap horizontally for each line. It can be used to contrast two opposed points of view, or find a common bridge across a seemingly insurmountable gap—juxtaposition, after all, is at the heart of modern cinema. It was invented by Singaporean poet Yeow Kai Chai.
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming will be co-editing the collection with Joshua Ip, founder of Sing Lit Station, Poets from the twin cities, Singapore and Hong Kong, will tackle the challenge of the twin cinema form in tandem with their own interpretation of the ties that bind or divide the two. The two cities share some links of cultural heritage, postcolonial history, rich financial centres and trading ports with the hectic life that follows, and also the sense of a hinterland yawning just across the water. Yet they also rival each other in numerous fields, and are divided by language, by geography, and political affiliation and situation. This is fertile ground for poetry—and may it grow cities.
The closing date for submissions is Saturday 3 Jun 2017. Submission details are available here.
Joshua Ip is the author of three volumes of poetry from Math Paper Press. His debut collection, sonnets from the singlish (2012) won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014. He won the Golden Point Award for English Prose in 2013, was runner-up for English Poetry in 2011, and received a Honorable Mention for Chinese Poetry in 2015. He has co-edited six poetry anthologies: A Luxury We Cannot Afford (2014), SingPoWriMo 2014: The Anthology (2014), SingPoWriMo 2015: The Anthology (2015), SingPoWriMo 2016: The Anthology (2016), A Luxury We Must Afford (2016), and Unfree Verse (2017). He is currently working on his first graphic novel, Ten Stories Below (2016). He is the founder of Sing Lit Station, a literary charity that runs multiple community initiatives, including SingPoWriMo, Manuscript Bootcamp, poetry.sg and several workshop groups. He also writes an irregular column, Ipster Cafe, for The Middle Ground. joshuaip.com