Avant-garde as counter-force

Irving Goh, The National University of Singapore

Note 38 in the author's " Promising "Post-colonialism": Deleuze-Guattari's "Minor Literature" and the Poetry of Arthur Yap"

In "group dynamics II," the poem begins with: "reginald is 19, very smart & somewhat bored./ wingho is like reginald, without the honda sports./ benny is like wingho, both are wong. may-lin comes from another school/ [Š] / wingho calls may-lin sis & she giggles./ julie, also wong, thinks itıs all so wrong." And it ends with "julie still sulks. may-lin doesnıt worry,/ [Š] / wingho is like reginald,/ benny is like wingho./ they wait for the bus,/ they wait for the bus,/ they wait for a taxi/ to take susie and bee ngah/ to the troika./ they wait for the call-up" (70). Here, the "like" is always relating one to another, or else relating them with another order. The sense of an assemblage is very strong here, I think. At the end, "they," undefined, seems to only resonate all the possible connections the "like" is likely to bring into a relation. "They" speaks not only of "wingho" and "reginald," or "benny" and "reginald." It simply speaks of the assemblage.

Similarly in "still life VI," the poem moves from: "something wonderfully familiar about the old lady/ selling her jade bracelet; the old goldsmith/ in the courtyard dallying with the pretty serving maid./ the old sage, intent upon his pagan loves" to: "& how out of this meaninglessness would come order./ orderlies to clean the courtyard,/ polish the bracelet, spin loves & bring again/ something wonderfully familiar: the old lady/ selling her jade bracelet, the old gentleman/ dallying with the old lady, the serving maid/ with her bracelet & her sage" (112).

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference Singapoe Bibliography

Last modified: 31 May 2001