Sharpened Word celebrated its first anniversary on Saturday, October 15. Speakers invited for this October edition, held at Andersonian Club, were Catherine Brogan, Selina Siak Chin Yoke and Wani Ardy.
Catherine (Cat) hails from Northern Ireland. She is funded by Arts Council England and the British Council to research on spoken word education in Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with Poetry Cafe KL. She has been here since April.
“I’ve always been that person who loves attention and the microphone. Someone who’d crack jokes and entertain people,” said Cat.
Her poems touch on issues like terrorism and her personal experiences. To her, poetry is a medium which generates questions, apart from telling someone what to feel.
“My grandfather wrote poems too and because I was living in a village there wasn’t much artistic activity I could pursue. Sensing how issues affect countries, I feel a need to use my voice to raise awareness,” she said.
“Poetry can take you from laughing to crying in a very short period of time. It depicts true emotions,” Cat opined.
Ipohite Selina, works in London as a theoretical physicist, investment banker and trader. Her debut novel, “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds”, scheduled to release on November 1, is among the six books of choice for the month October by Amazon’s editors.
“When you’re good with both numbers and the abstract, it gives you a choice to pick. I always prefer words,” exclaimed Selina.
She was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and felt the world crumbling around her. Astonishingly, as she began writing her energy returned along with her words.
Selina was inspired by her great grandmother to write her book entitled, “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds”. Her writings depict Ipoh during the British colonial days. It took her almost two years to complete it and another two to find a publisher. Her book is a series. Selina is currently working on the second one.
“Malaysia does something to me that no country ever does. It’s an incredibly long journey. To be a writer one has to be thick-skinned to endure rejections,” she added.
Kuala Lumpur-born Wani Ardy, a creative writer cum singer cum songwriter, recently moved to Ipoh. She has 14 years of experience in creative writing and performing arts.
“Writing is the only thing I know. I don’t think I choose writing, probably writing chooses me,” said Wani.
When she was little, her family travelled a lot and she called different countries her home. Books were her only companion. And that was how she started writing.
She wrote scripts for television but later found that poetry was her true passion. She feels she is a selfish writer because her readers are not the first thing in her mind when she writes.
“I like how my readers interpret my poetry. It’s not math as there’s no formula and if 10 people were to read the same poem, they’d all interpret it differently,” she reasoned.
Wani’s first book, “Langit Vanilla”, was published in 2011 by a friend who just started a publishing company and who believed in her writings.
“I turn my poetry into songs because I want to go beyond words. Anyone who listens will feel it even if they don’t understand it. That’s the best part.”