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Theophilus Kwek

Author Photo of Theophilus Kwek
Books by this author: Moving House
  • About
  • Reviews
  • Theophilus Kwek is a writer, editor and translator based in Singapore. Two of his previous collections of poetry were shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, while his pamphlet, The First Five Storms, won the inaugural New Poets’ Prize in 2016. Other awards include the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, the Berfrois Poetry Prize, and the Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation. A former President of the Oxford University Poetry Society, he now serves as co-editor of Oxford Poetry and The Kindling, and has also edited several volumes of Singaporean writing. His poems, essays and translations have been published in The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, The Irish Examiner, and the Mekong Review.
    Praise for Theophilus Kwek 'Kwek may well turn out to be one of the major poetic voices of the twenty-first century.'

    David Starkey, California Review of Books

    'Theophilus Kwek's collection dexterously intertwines macro-narratives with micronarratives. Though also bearing cross-cultural/linguistic identities, Kwek's poetic attention is more vertical than horizontal: history, both individual and collective, petite and grand, instead of identity, lies at the center of this collection.'

    Cuilin Sang, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal

    'A deeply thoughtful mapping of migration, languages, colonial histories and faith... A confident and thought-provoking collection with a richness in imagery, symbolism and language, Moving House will leave you with poignant questions about the ground beneath our feet, and the social injustices in our everyday encounters. At the same time, it reminds us of the anchors: family ties, love, and faith in humanity'

    Jennifer Wong, Poetry London

    'In Moving House, Kwek traces movements which are fundamental to the formation and evolution of countries and cultures. These are movements which inspire headlines, panel shows, and slacktivism'

     Skendha Singh, DURA Dundee

    'These poems demonstrate poetic sophistication. They are restrained and cautious, but sufficiently evocative to merit much rereading.'

    Joe Darlington, Manchester Review of Books 

    'Moving House is topical in the way it addresses the refugee and migrant crisis and other contemporary issues faced by a world in the midst of great change [...] His poetic observations and voice break through the otherwise impenetrable silences of negligence, suppression, erasure and violence [...] While these topics are heavy, Kwek's lightness of touch and his captivating language is a balm that helps readers confront these narratives of powerlessness and trauma, and his earnestness suggests that we, too, are witnesses in this world who have a part to play.'

    'These poems are polymorphous probes into memory [...] quietly accomplished lyrics and elegiacs which almost allow themselves a limpidity, almost a serenity' 

    Michael Freeman, Mekong Review 

    'His poems are keenly aware that the scariest place to exist is on the edges of a space, but the stately, serene pacing should not blind you to the keen political intelligence at work.'

     Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian

    'Theophilus Kwek's poetry is striking for its assurance and control [...] this is the work of a considerable poet.'

    Kathleen McPhilemy, The High Window

    'Kwek has a keen eye for poetic rupture and moments of collision. With formal dexterity, he shifts through family history and world politics, from British colonial rule to refugee crises and a moving tribute to soldiers killed in peacetime training'
    Poetry Book Society Summer Bulletin 2020
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