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Becoming poets

The Asian English experience

Agnes Lam

Literatures in English have emerged in several Asian communities and have enjoyed a growing readership. Creative writing programmes in Asia and other parts of the world have also attracted many new voices from Asia. However, little is known about how learners from different language backgrounds become published poets in English. This book is a pioneering work on the development of poets and poetry in English in Asia. It offers a five-stage model to understand such phenomena. The life experiences of 50 published poets from five Asian locations: Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and India, based on interviews conducted by the author, and their poetry are analyzed to appreciate how learners of English in multilingual environments become published poets and how such individual metamorphosis contributes to the growth of literary communities at local, regional and cosmopolitan levels. Researchers on Asian Englishes and literatures in English, teachers and participants in creative writing programmes, policy makers for English in education or the nurturing of the creative arts and any one interested in poetry writing will find the book highly informative and inspiring.
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Chapter 8 – Conclusion


Chapter 8 Conclusion


The aim of this book is to report on a comparative study of the developmental experiences of 50 poets writing in English in Asia towards an understanding of how learners of a language become published poets in that language. Chapter 1 contextualized the study within the discussion of Asian Englishes (Kachru, 1983; Kachru, 2005; Kachru & Nelson, 2006), language acquisition (Zoltan, 2009) and creative writing in bilingual and multilingual settings. Chapter 2 defined Asian poetry with reference to the provenance, residence patterns and language choice of the various groups of poets hailing from Asia. Chapters 3 to 7 each focused on one of the five places studied (Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and India); each chapter began with some background on the place, applied Lam’s five-stage development on poetic growth (presented in Chapter 1) to the experiences of the ten poets and summarized the poets’ views on community, language and poetics in that locale. This final chapter revisits Lam’s five-stage model for poetic development in the light of the analysis in Chapters 3 to 7, addresses the possibility of poetic death, summarizes the salient features of poetic development across the five communities and recommends the cosmopolitan approach for the study of Asian English poetries.

The Five-Stage Model Revisited

To recapitulate from Chapter 1, Lam’s (2007) model of poetic development has these five stages: ← 313 | 314 →

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