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Through a Screen Darkly: Writing Poetry That Keeps You Up at Night

February 17 @ 10:00 am - March 9 @ 1:00 pm



Auto-applied, no promo code needed:

  • 40% concession* rates for students and seniors
  • 20% off buddy tickets

Request promo code via email to programmes@bookcouncil.sg to enjoy:

  • 20% off past participants of SBC Academy
  • 10% off for Kinokuniya Privilege Card members

* Please be prepared to present your student pass or senior citizen card on the day of the talk for verification purposes.

Off set the course fee using your SkillsFuture Credits! Refer here.

T o submit claim for this SkillsFuture course:

  • Register and request for invoice
  • Log in on MySkillsFuture with Singpass and go to ‘E-Services’
  • Click on ‘Check and Claim SkillsFuture Credit’
  • Click on ‘Proceed to Submit a Claim’.
  • Search for this course.
  • The page will show your course details and the course run or course start date. Scroll down to key in payment details and upload supporting documents (invoice).
  • Check the ‘Terms & Conditions’ checkbox.
  • Click ‘Submit’.


Why write poetry, as opposed to fiction, or a dramatic piece? This question is at the heart of this four-week programme as we unravel the complex impulses and inspirations that go into the poetic pursuit and how these can ignite our writings.

For too long, poetry has been taught and mined for meaning first. As T. S. Eliot says: “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” That’s the beautiful power of poetry which can excavate even as your mind has yet to unravel it.

By interrogating one’s own motivations and then embracing the poetic imagination, this series of workshops will take you through the various stages of verse fruition, from harnessing the initial spark (of hope, or fear, or both), to examining the armoury of tools for self-expression (through other art forms such as films and music), to ascertaining the range of approaches which best steer and keep you on the edge, and to finally unleashing the poems to the outside world, come what may.

Every week, participants will be encouraged to write prompt-led poetry, and share their poems and opinions on each other’s work.

Course Objectives

  • To introduce participants the joys of appreciating poetry
  • To acquire the basic tenets of poetry and how participants can start writing their own poems via hands-on exercises
  • To learn from other art forms such as films and music and be sensitised to worldly inspirations

Learning Outcomes:

  • Appreciate the artistic richness of poetry
  • Enhance your writing skills through exercises and sharing sessions
  • Explore multifarious creative outlets through other art forms and expand your creative repertoire

Programme Itinerary

First Session: THE SPARK (17 February 2024)

How does an idea for a poem come about? How does one allow an embryo of a feeling, a concept, or an issue, to evolve and develop? This session delves into the factors to consider when trying to give voice to a spark. Whether it’s a memory, a person, or an artificial prompt, it can help you to confront the genuine root for that poetic investigation, and how we can start afresh, abuzz, ready for all possibilities.

Second Session: THE ARMOURY (24 February 2024)

You’ve got an iota of an idea, but where do we go from here? This session introduces the formal strategies – form, rhythm, imagery – which anchor your poetic expression. Aside from the tried-and-tested, we will also get to learn from other artforms such as films and music, and know the more experimental, and outre projects which can revise and enrich our notions of what poetry can be.

Third Session: THE EXPOSURE (2 March 2024)

When is a poem done? This session looks at the hard but essential task of knowing when and how to end a poem, and as a collection, how to structure and sequence one’s manuscript.

Fourth Session: THE VULNERABILITY (9 March 2024)

How do you know if your poem is good enough to let it out? This is where rigorous editing, self-critique and a good hide (thick skin) will come in handy. This session will involve you to stand apart from your work, examine the pitfalls, kill your darlings. It will end in a poetry recital where participants will share their takeaways and their newly-minted poetry.

Programme Details:

Date: 17 & 24 February, 2 & 9 March 2024, Saturday

Time: 10.00 am – 1.00 pm

Venue: SBC Training Room, Goodman Arts Centre,

Blk E, #03-32 (Directions below in FAQ section)

About trainer:

Yeow Kai Chai is a poet, fiction writer, and editor. He has three poetry collections: Secret Manta (2001); Pretend I’m Not Here (2006); and One to the Dark Tower Comes (2020), which was awarded the 2022 Singapore Literature Prize. He has worked as editor-in-chief, entertainment editor and music reviewer for nearly three decades. He co-wrote Lilla Torg: A Scandinavian Journey (2023); Lost Bodies: Poems Between Portugal and Home (2016); and The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015), with three other authors. A co-editor of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, he was Festival Director of Singapore Writers Festival from 2015 to 2018.


The programme can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the programme date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances (E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us up to 5 working days before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. Those who did not turn up at the workshop will not receive a refund.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation and withdrawal policy and accept the terms contained therein.

Frequently asked questions

Where is the venue?

  • Singapore Book Council is located at 90 Goodman Road, Blk E #03-32*, Goodman Arts Centre, S(439053). The Writer’s Lounge, SBC Training Room, and office is located here.

How do I get to the venue by bus? 

  • By Bus: Bus Stop 91099 (along Mountbatten Road) – 12, 14, 30, 30E, 158, 196, 401 Bus Stop 91091 (Bef Kg Kayu Rd) – 12, 14, 14A, 30, 30E, 158, 196 | This stop is opposite of Goodman Arts Centre, please use the overhead bridge to cross over.

How do I get to the venue by train? 

  • By MRT: Mountbatten MRT Station (Circle Line) Exit B | Turn left upon exit, follow sheltered walkway (crossing Geylang River) all the way to Goodman Arts Centre. After the gate, turn left, passing Block H towards Block E. Take the first staircase to level 3.

How do I get to the venue by car/taxi?

  • Drop-offs can be done at Carpark A nearest to Blk E during office hours. Drop-offs and parking is located at Carpark B near Blk O.

Is there a lift access to the venue?

  • There is no lift access at the building.



February 17 @ 10:00 am
March 9 @ 1:00 pm
Event Categories:


Singapore Book Council
6342 5119
View Organizer Website


Singapore Book Council, Training Room
Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road, Block E, #03-32
Singapore, Singapore 439053 Singapore
+ Google Map
6342 5119
View Venue Website
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