Edwin Thumboo's Importance to Singaporean Literature

Ee Tiang Hong

Edwin Thumboo may well deserve the title of father figure in Singapore, albeit in danger of being killed off by the next generation of strong poets, as Shirley Lim would have it (Bennett, Ee a Shepherd 30-34), but there are also important cousins, and nephews and nieces, not to mention distant uncles and other relatives, in the extended literary family of Singapore and Malaysia. More than any other writer in Singapore, Thumboo has demonstrated his awareness of the roles and responsibilities that poets must take towards the creation of a Singaporean identity and a Singaporean image of itself. His later poetry and critical writings bear ample testimony to this sensitivity.

The preceding passage has been quoted from the late Ee Tiang Hong's Responsibility and Commitment: The Poetry of Edwin Thumboo, ed. Leong Liew Geok (Singapore: Centre for Advanced Studies/Singapore University Press, 1997. It can be ordered from Singapore University Press, 10 Kent Ridge, Singapore 119260 [GPL].

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