Equal to the Earth by Jee Leong Koh

I know Jee on the internet — originally via PFFA, the online poetry forum, but also now through his blog, Song of a Reformed Headhunter — so I already knew I liked his poems. And as a bonus, Equal to the Earth serves as my book from Singapore for the Read The World challenge.

Jee is, to quote the blurb on Lulu, ‘a gay poet born and bred in Singapore, educated at Oxford, now living and teaching in New York.’ Which gives you an idea of some of the major themes: ethnicity, sexuality, the immigrant experience and so on. But that list of topics sounds worryingly like the poems might be painfully earnest, which they are not; they have a delicacy of touch, both in handling the material and the verse.

I’ve read quite a lot of them before, sometimes I think in earlier versions, but it was a pleasure to sit down and revisit them.

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