Literary Arts, Talk/Workshop

Through a Screen Darkly: Writing Poetry That Keeps You Up at Night

Organised by: Singapore Book Council
  • Date:
    17 Feb - 9 Mar 2024, Saturdays
  • Time:
    10:00am - 1:00pm
  • Venue:
    Singapore Book Council Training Room 90 Goodman Road Block E, #03-32, Goodman Arts Centre *Please note that there is no lift access to the Training Room, 439053
    Singapore Book Council Training Room 90 Goodman Road Block E, #03-32, Goodman Arts Centre *Please note that there is no lift access to the Training Room, 439053Singapore Book Council Training Room 90 Goodman Road Block E, #03-32, Goodman Arts Centre *Please note that there is no lift access to the Training Room, 439053
  • Admission:
    Standard Ticket: $280 + $8.63 Fee
    Buddy Tickets: $224 + $7.12 Fee
    Senior Citizen Tickets: $168 + $5.61 Fee
    Student Tickets: $168 + $5.61 Fee


Why write poetry, as opposed to fiction, or a dramatic piece? This question is at the heart of this four-week programme as we unravel the complex impulses and inspirations that go into the poetic pursuit and how these can ignite our writings.

For too long, poetry has been taught and mined for meaning first. As T. S. Eliot says: "Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood." That's the beautiful power of poetry which can excavate even as your mind has yet to unravel it.

By interrogating one's own motivations and then embracing the poetic imagination, this series of workshops will take you through the various stages of verse fruition, from harnessing the initial spark (of hope, or fear, or both), to examining the armoury of tools for self-expression (through other art forms such as films and music), to ascertaining the range of approaches which best steer and keep you on the edge, and to finally unleashing the poems to the outside world, come what may.

Every week, participants will be encouraged to write prompt-led poetry, and share their poems and opinions on each other's work.

Course Objectives
-To introduce participants the joys of appreciating poetry
-To acquire the basic tenets of poetry and how participants can start writing their own poems via -hands-on exercises
-To learn from other art forms such as films and music and be sensitised to worldly inspirations

Learning Outcomes:

-Appreciate the artistic richness of poetry

-Enhance your writing skills through exercises and sharing sessions

-Explore multifarious creative outlets through other art forms and expand your creative repertoire

Programme Itinerary
First Session: THE SPARK (17 February 2024)
How does an idea for a poem come about? How does one allow an embryo of a feeling, a concept, or an issue, to evolve and develop? This session delves into the factors to consider when trying to give voice to a spark. Whether it's a memory, a person, or an artificial prompt, it can help you to confront the genuine root for that poetic investigation, and how we can start afresh, abuzz, ready for all possibilities.

Second Session: THE ARMOURY (24 February 2024)
You've got an iota of an idea, but where do we go from here? This session introduces the formal strategies – form, rhythm, imagery – which anchor your poetic expression. Aside from the tried-and-tested, we will also get to learn from other artforms such as films and music, and know the more experimental, and outre projects which can revise and enrich our notions of what poetry can be.

Third Session: THE EXPOSURE (2 March 2024)
When is a poem done? This session looks at the hard but essential task of knowing when and how to end a poem, and as a collection, how to structure and sequence one's manuscript.

Fourth Session: THE VULNERABILITY (9 March 2024)
How do you know if your poem is good enough to let it out? This is where rigorous editing, self-critique and a good hide (thick skin) will come in handy. This session will involve you to stand apart from your work, examine the pitfalls, kill your darlings. It will end in a poetry recital where participants will share their takeaways and their newly-minted poetry.

Programme Details:
Date: 17 & 24 February, 2 & 9 March 2024, Saturday
Time: 10.00 am - 1.00 pm
Venue: SBC Training Room, Goodman Arts Centre,
Blk E, #03-32 (Directions below at FAQ section)
About trainer:
Yeow Kai Chai is a poet, fiction writer, and editor. He has three poetry collections: Secret Manta (2001); Pretend I'm Not Here (2006); and One to the Dark Tower Comes (2020), which was awarded the 2022 Singapore Literature Prize. He has worked as editor-in-chief, entertainment editor and music reviewer for nearly three decades. He co-wrote Lilla Torg: A Scandinavian Journey (2023); Lost Bodies: Poems Between Portugal and Home (2016); and The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015), with three other authors. A co-editor of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, he was Festival Director of Singapore Writers Festival from 2015 to 2018.

Auto-applied, no promo code needed:

40% concession* rates for students and seniors
20% off buddy tickets
Request promo code via email to to enjoy:

20% off past participants of SBC Academy
10% off for Kinokuniya Privilege Card members
* Please be prepared to present your student pass or senior citizen card on the day of the talk for verification purposes.

Off set the course fee using your SkillsFuture Credits! Refer here.
-To submit claim for this SkillsFuture course:

-Register and request for invoice
-Log in on MySkillsFuture with Singpass and go to 'E-Services'
-Click on 'Check and Claim SkillsFuture Credit'
-Click on 'Proceed to Submit a Claim'.
-Search for this course.
-The page will show your course details and the course run or course start date. Scroll down to key in payment details and upload supporting documents (invoice).
-Check the 'Terms & Conditions' checkbox.
-Click 'Submit'.

Through a Screen Darkly: Writing Poetry That Keeps You Up at Night