The Girl from Ermita: & Selected Poems 1961-1998 by Goh Poh SengThe Girl from Ermita: & Selected Poems 1961-1998 by Goh Poh Seng

The Girl from Ermita: & Selected Poems 1961-1998

byGoh Poh Seng

Paperback | January 1, 1998

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This collection by the award-winning writer Goh Poh Seng is the first volume of his poetry published in North America. It spans more than thirty-five years of his work and traverses cultures as well as continents.

Goh's settings range from the wharfs at Singapore's harbour to a backwater bar in Papeete, Tahiti, from a park in Halifax to the streets of Vancouver. His characters are unforgettable: Fely, a young woman from Ermita who sells her body to support her eight-year-old daughter; an old sailor who has solo-circumnavigated the globe; a Vietcong soldier who loses his family and finally his own life to the horror of the Vietnam war.

Even more wide-ranging is the perceptual and emotional depth of the poems. Goh brings a lifetime of love, despair, passion and honesty to his work; with the skill of a master craftsman, he uses the most graceful and lyrical language to understand his world and to bring us closer to ourselves and each other.
Goh Poh Seng was born in Malaya in 1936. He received his medical degree from University College in Dublin, and practised medicine in Singapore for twenty-five years. Goh's first novel, If We Dream Too Long, won the National Book Development Council of Singapore's Fiction Book Award and has been translated into Russian and Tagalog. His ...
Title:The Girl from Ermita: & Selected Poems 1961-1998Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.4 inPublished:January 1, 1998Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889711674

ISBN - 13:9780889711679

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Read from the Book

Hornby Island for Billy Little, who shared loved spots and fond friendsHere on the headland by Downe's Pointwe case dreams to risesynchronous with eagles and gulls,all make-believe, egocentric,near to fanatical,else aim true to roam deepwith Leviathan in the ocean's mind,free from perplexities and profundities such as bind the scheduled selfHere is the arbutus grovewhose trunks and branches tightenlike nerves, twisted witnesses,victims of shapely windswhich blow in always unseen,sweet from the southor coming cold from the north, from every directionthe prevailing force of natureWish I could emulate the arbutusslough off my thin skin as easilyas these natives trees their barkfrom abrasion, disdain or design,unveiling the bare beautyof strong, hard wood beneathOver on Fossil Baythe rot of herring roestrewn amongst broken clam shells, dead crabson dirty grey sand, exposed bedrock,thickened the morning air,but gave no cause for bereavement:these millions of botched birthings!And none also for the Salish,no open lamentation for a racealmost obliterated without tracefrom their native habitatsave a few totems, some evidences of middens,a score of petroglyphs of their guardian spiritscarved a thousand years agoon smooth flat rock by the shore,of killer whales, Leviathans again,to guide their hunts,the destiny of their tribe.Having retraced themgently with finger tips,they now guide mine.Exile in a Cold LandIn a winter air when bare treesinlay calligraphics in the sky,snow flutters perhapsfrom a grey distance,and trailed by his own voice,a lone man walks,afraid of being smothered,immured in a white universe.Night by night he threatensto jettison the stars,evict them in tumblesas snow from a frozen sky,else dreams the thin-sheeted icecracks beneath his feet,fragile as a brief handshake.

From Our Editors

Award-winning writer Goh Poh Seng offers this vast volume of his poetry, the first published in North America. From Singapore`s harbours, where Seng practised medicine for 25 years, to the streets of his present home, Vancouver, The Girl from Ermita and Selected Poems 1961-1998 spans decades and continents. Carefully crafted and lyrical in tone whether the poet is writing of the horrors of the Vietnam War or a backwater bar in Tahiti, this collection aptly reflects 35 years of work and writing, living and experience.