This book takes stock of the practices of writing poetry, taking street photographs, and creative writing scholarship. It adopts both imaginative and critical ways of writing and exploring both texts and practices. I think of myself as a MacGyver-type character, indulging in the art ofbricolage, pulling together poetry, street photography, and autoethnography. Marshall McLuhan once wrote that “[a]rt is anything you can get away with” (Medium is the Massage, 132-136). I am going to borrow from him and say that “scholarship is anything you can get away with”. Hence, this project is a self-conscious assemblage of sorts, drawing from various genres. It is a scholarly work that draws from the methodology of autoethnography, it is a creative work to do with poetry writing, and it is a critical reflection on the possibilities of street photography. It also features my own poetry and street photography. Although I am working to articulate a socio-philosophy of creative work, teaching, and scholarship situated specifically within Hong Kong and Singapore, I write with an awareness that the issues I examine here are nonetheless relevant to fellow writers and artists in other locales who are likewise searching for ways to talk about what it is that drives them.
“A thoughtful, erudite and humane reflection on what it means to work at the nexus of multiple disciplines, identities, interests and obligations. With remarkable courage and rigour, Tay turns his critical eye inward, chipping away at the reductive purisms that continue to plague our digital age.”
Alvin Pang, poet, anthologist and translator, recipient of the Singapore Youth Award for Arts and Culture
“These essays form an engaging, insightful tour through the sometimes conflicting, but more often overlapping worlds of academia, creative scholarship, photography and poetry. There are memorable moments of profound insight and wisdom, especially when Tay examines the liminal zones between word and image, scholarship and creativity, and between the open street and the enclosed worlds of academia and poetry.”
Boey Kim Cheng, award-winning poet, Associate Professor and Head of Division of English, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
“As a scholar, poet and street photographer, Eddie Tay has established himself as one of Hong Kong's most important and varied cultural voices. Now, in his latest and most ambitious project, he combines these three callings to create a deeply individual and original work. Part poetry collection, part photographic essay, part academic and personal reflection, this book provides a fascinating, insightful and idiosyncratic exploration of the creative process and life in the modern Asian metropolis.”
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Associate Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, Vice President at PEN Hong Kong, poet and winner of Hong Kong Art Development Council's Young Artist Award
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