Toh Hsien Min: A Brief Biography and Introduction

Gwee Li Sui, Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore

Toh Hsien Min has published two collections of poetry, Iambus (1994) The Enclosure of Love (2001), and he has edited an anthology of writing by young Singaporeans, First Words (Singapore: Unipress, 1996). His work has been published in the Oxford-Cambridge May Anthologies (selected by J. H. Prynne), in university journals in Oxford and Dartmouth College, and in Atlanta Review, London Magazine, Oxford Poetry, papertiger, Poetry Ireland Review, and the Singaporean journal Singa, among others. He has also read at international literary festivals such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival. He is the Founding Editor of the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (, the leading literary journal in Singapore, and a recipient of the Shell-National Arts Council Scholarship for the Arts. Hsien Min was educated at Keble College, Oxford, where he was President of the Oxford University Poetry Society in 1998.

Hsien Min, who has been tutored in the craft of poetry by Craig Raine in Oxford and by Lee Tzu Pheng and Arthur Yap in Singapore, places strong emphasis on technical focus, which owes primarily to his admiration for the poetry of Philip Larkin and W. B. Yeats. His early belief that it is only through the disruptive use of structural convention that one may best achieve control and poetic concision has given way to a more constructive approach. Other influences in his work include his readings in Middle English (particularly Middle English Lyric), Milton, and the contemporary poets Derek Mahon and Andrew Motion. His website may be found at http:/ .

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Last modified: 4 September 2003